My first ceilidh
On Thursday night I went to a ceilidh for the first time. A ceilidh (pronounced kay-lee) is a traditional Gaelic party with Scottish folk dancing. I didn’t know what to expect, but I certainly didn’t expect having as much fun as I did! The ceilidh was a society fundraiser and lasted about four hours, with little to no breaks.
A Gaelic band provided the music and a ‘caller,’ or someone who teaches the dance before the music starts. The man had such a thick brogue it was almost impossible to understand him, but somehow, we managed to get by (with the help of a few kilted Scottish guys!).
Each song was either a couples dance or a ‘set’ dance with about four couples either facing each other or standing in a circle. It was also common to switch partners in the middle of the dance so that you danced with as many people as possible. My favorite dances were the Flying Scotsman and Strip the Willow. Check clips of them out on YouTube to get a feel for it!
**This is a lot more tame than the real thing. Try to imagine those steps with a packed house of 100 rowdy, very excited students.
My partner for the latter was Callum Iain MacGregor….can it get any more Scottish than that? Let’s just say that I woke up to many scratches on my ankles! Scottish men like, as the caller said, as much ‘vip and vigor’ in their dances as you can handle.
At the end, everyone at the ceilidh held hands and we sang Auld Lang Syne. What a great night to be in Scotland!