What is the Scottish Ceilidh and Ceilidh Dancing?

What is the Scottish Ceilidh and Ceilidh Dancing?

Originally the word Ceilidh (kay-lee) descended from the Gaelic word for ‘gathering’ or ‘party’… However, these days when people think of a Ceilidh, they think of a fun-filled night of wild dancing, good music and great company!

A ceilidh is a Scottish social event which involves traditional folk music and dancing. You will normally come across ceilidhs on special occasions such as weddings, birthdays and anniversaries. However, there are several venues across Edinburgh and Scotland which regularly host ceilidhs all year round such as Summerhall and the Ghillie Dhu.

To start this article we’d like to have you in the mood. Here is a super nice video that you can play in the background while reading to feel the Sottish spirit.

How does this Ceilidh thing work?

So one of the band members walks us through each dance. He explains each part of it until it seems like we understand. We try it once without music before doing it “full out”. Then, the music starts, he gives us the cue so we all start at the same time and you just hope you remember the moves! Each dance lasts between 5 and 10 minutes. The dance moves aren’t really hard, you just have to remember them!

Here’s an example:

Where does Ceilidh come from?

Dating back to 1875, Ceilidh originates from Scotland and Ireland although its name comes from Gaelic; it’s a combination of Scottish, Irish and English folk music.

Ceilidh music and dancing (pronounced “kay-lee” and meaning “visit”) is becoming more and more popular! We are getting a number of enquiries from brides and grooms to be as well as others planning a celebration, requesting a Ceilidh band for their special event. As so many people are asking all about it we thought it would be useful to tell you what it is, where it came from and why it makes an electric party atmosphere with plenty of fizzing excitement!

Traditionally it is a gathering or social event, and it didn’t necessarily involve any dancing.  These days a Ceilidh is a sociable way to bring people together involving Scottish music and dance.

Join us every Friday

We go the Ceilidh every Friday >> http://inlingua-edinburgh.co.uk/social-programme

What Line-Up?

A Ceilidh band normally consists of two or three people, a fiddler, an accordionist and a ‘caller’ to help everyone get into the swing of things and learn the dances. But, line-ups may also include guitarists, drums, keyboards and whistles amongst other instruments.

Nowadays, the music isn’t always traditional either, it can be very contemporary as there are a number of new-style Ceilidh bands bringing a fresh slant on the old folk songs and even putting a twist on current music. This makes it funky, modern and gives you a brand new sound. There’s plenty of rock and roll influence now as well, so if you really want your guests to get down and groove check-out some of Warble Entertainment’s Ceilidh bands – they are absolutely guaranteed to get even the most reluctant dancer strutting their stuff!

Here a wee list of the usual Scottish dances that you can enjoy at a Ceilidh:

– Virginia Reel
– Military Two-Step
– Cumberland Reel
– Flying Scotsman
– Canadian Barndance
– Cumberland Square 8 (the one with the baskets)
– Circassian Circle
– St. Bernard’s Waltz

What is its role in Scottish culture?

Most people in Scotland know how to ceilidh dance.  They were taught in gym lessons at school.  It is often used to bring together two sides of a family at a wedding to start the party, or as a celebration at a work, Christmas or corporate party.

Who is a Ceilidh Suitable for?

The beauty of a ceilidh or Barn Dance is that everyone can take part, young or old, experienced dancers, to beginners and even those with two left feet! No experience is necessary! It doesn’t matter what age, ability or personality type a person is – everyone loves to get involved and no experience is necessary! It is very easy to pick up.

The dances are all varied and there are plenty of paces available, fast, slow and even mid-tempo – so if some of the dances are hard to keep up with that’s your cue to take a break and perhaps enjoy a glass of champagne or wine before you get involved again. Party-goers love the flexibility of a Ceilidh because you may get moving when you want and take a break when your feet can’t keep up any more.

If you ever get the chance to go to a Ceilidh, don’t hesitate and just go! This will be the best memory of your time in Scotland! It may seem intimidating to go to a Ceilidh, but don’t worry if you don’t know the moves, somebody will help you!

Ceilidhs are a lot of fun and they play a regular part in our social programme, so you will have plenty of time to practice once you’re here!

12 Valentine’s Day traditions around the world

12 Valentine’s Day traditions around the world

Valentine’s Day is known around the world as a celebration of love and romance where people show their affection for their loved ones, often by exchanging cards and gifts. Although the day is celebrated in many countries, the way people spend can be very different!

Here are some examples of how people celebrate Valentine’s Day in different countries around the world:

1.Valentine’s Day in Japan

Rear photo of Japanese young Couple with Kimono and Yukata enjoy fall colors at Nanzen-ji Temple, Kyoto, Japan. Autumn season destination with copy space for text.

Unlike in most Western cultures, it is traditional in Japan for women to give men gifts (often chocolate) on 14th February. A month later, on 14th March, Japan celebrates White Day, where men traditionally present women with gifts such as jewellery, clothing and chocolates that are around two or three times more valuable than the gifts they received from their partners on Valentine’s Day

2.Valentine’s Day in South Korea

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Valentine’s Day traditions in South Korea are similar to those of Japan and it is customary for women in South Korea to buy men gifts on 14th February. They also celebrate White Day one month later when the men reciprocate their feelings buy giving women gifts on 14th March.

However, after this day, South Koreans continue the tradition with Black Day where single people meet up to celebrate or mourn single life (depending on their viewpoint). Many will meet up at restaurants to eat jajangmyeon (자장면), which is made up of Korean noodles in black bean sauce and referred to as black noodles.

3.Valentine’s Day in Denmark & Norway

Candy for the one you love

On Valentine’s Day, it is customary for Danish and Norwegian men to send women Gaekkebrev which are funny poems or love letters. They send these notes anonymously and leave a small clue at the bottom of the page (a series of dots where each dot represents one letter of their name). The woman must then guess who has sent her the card and, if she is right, she will receive an Easter egg later in the year. If she fails to guess the identity of her secret admirer, she must give him an Easter egg instead.

4.Valentine’s Day in Finland & Estonia

Friends Explore Nature Outdoors Concept

On 14th February in Finland and Estonia, friendship rather than romantic love is celebrated. The day is referred to as ‘Friends’ Day’ and people exchange cards and presents with their friends.

5. Italy

Venice Sunrise

In Italy, Valentine’s Day was originally celebrated as the Spring Festival, where young couples would gather outside in gardens to enjoy poetry readings and music. It was also said that the first man a young, unmarried woman saw on Valentine’s Day would be the man she would marry.

Today, Italians celebrate Valentine’s Day by giving gifts to their partners and having candlelit dinners together. One of the most popular gifts to give are baci perugina, which are chocolate-covered hazelnuts wrapped in paper with romantic notes printed in four languages.

6. Brazil

Vem cá

Brazilians celebrate their version of Valentine’s Day or Dia dos Namorados (Lovers’ Day) on 12th June. On this day, music festivals and events take place throughout the country and gifts and cards are exchanged with friends and family as well as romantic partners.

7. South Africa

Lion snuggle

As with many Western cultures, South Africans celebrate Valentine’s Day by going on a romantic date with their loved one and exchanging cards and gifts. It is also customary for young women and some men to take part in an old Roman tradition known as Lupercalia where they pin the name of their love interest on their sleeve.

8. France

Love Lock ~ Paris, France

Today, Valentine’s Day is celebrated in France in the same way as many Western countries by giving flowers, Valentine’s cards and gifts to romantic partners and love interests.

However, an old tradition which is now banned was une loterie d’amour or ‘a drawing for love’. This custom would take place in two houses situated opposite each other where single men in one house would face single women in the other and they would call out to each other through the windows until they eventually paired off. If the men were not fond of their match, they would leave her for another man to call. All of the women who were not matched by the end would gather around a bonfire in which they burned images and belongings of the men who rejected them.

9. Philippines

Wedding in Paradiso

Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the Philippines in a similar way to Western countries but it is also common for shared wedding ceremonies to take place on this day. The custom of mass wedding ceremonies has become popular in the recent years and many couples get married or renew their wedding vows together all year round.

Lovehearts

Across the UK, Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the same way as many other countries and it is customary for British people to exchange flowers, cards, chocolates and other gifts with their loved one. Historically, St Valentine’s Day was celebrated differently depending on the region:

10. Valentine’s Day in Scotland

An old Scottish tradition during Valentine’s parties is to play a game where an equal number of single men and women write their names on pieced of paper which is then folded and dropped into two hats (one for men and one for women). Each woman then draws the name of one man from the hat and vice versa. If a man and woman draw matching names from their respective hats, they have to stay together throughout the evening. If a man draws a name which does not match, he has to spend the evening with the woman who drew his name from the hat. Today, the tradition is not widely practised but it is still played in some households just for fun.

11. Valentine’s Day in Wales

The Welsh equivalent to Valentine’s Day is St Dwynwen’s Day which honours the patron saint of lovers and is celebrated on the 25th January each year. On this day, hand-carved wooden spoons were traditionally given by men to their love interests. They would carve intricate designs onto the spoons’ handles which had symbolic significance. For example, wheels would signify a man’s hard work and keys would represent his heart.

12. Valentine’s Day in England

Traditionally, unmarried women in England would pin bay leaves on each corner of their pillow in the belief that they would dream of their future husband. Young ladies would also write their love interests’ names on pieces of paper and put them inside clay balls that they would drop into the water. It was believed that the name on whichever paper came up first would represent their future husband. In Norfolk in the East of English, traditional folklore tells of a character called ‘Jack Valentine’ which is said to leave presents for children on Valentines’ eve. Although it is not known how this tradition started, it is still practised amongst some families.

New Course! Prepare your English Exam for only £150!

New Course! Prepare your English Exam for only £150!

We are very excited to launch our a new format for our evening English Exam Preparation. This new format has been designed for people with a busy schedule. The class will take place once a week from 6 pm to 8.15pm and cost only £150 per term!

Term starts on the 5th of March 2019.

If you want to increase your chances of success and prepare for your IELTS or Cambridge exam, this new programme is for you!

You can choose between:

  • CAE
  • FCE
  • IELTS

This English course will ensure that you are adequately prepared by focusing on each part of the examination including:

  • Listening, speaking, reading and writing
  • Multiple choice and text with gaps
  • Use of English
  • Word formation and sentence completion

 It will cover the following:

  • The format and procedures of the examination
  • Grammar and vocabulary development
  • Examination error correction
  • Academic vocabulary and style
  • Critical thinking and reflective learning
  • Continuous practise through the use of past papers and other materials

Duration of the term:

  • 4-week course with 2 people in the group
  • 5-week course with 3 people in the group
  • 6-week course with 4 people in the group
  • 8-week course with 5 to 10 people in the group

As with any other group course, the maximum class size is 10 students.

Ready to get started? Book your space!

13 Reasons to choose to study English in Edinburgh

13 Reasons to choose to study English in Edinburgh

Picture by Laura Billings

Once you have decided to learn English or improve your existing skills, it can be difficult to choose where to study. Whilst the UK is the perfect place to learn, there are many cities to pick from, each with different qualities to offer. Here are just a few reasons why we think Edinburgh is the best choice:

1. You can practice your English with Edinburgh’s friendly native speakers.

people, leisure, friendship and communication concept - group of happy smiling friends drinking beer and talking at bar or pub

The people of Scotland have a reputation for being friendly, and Edinburgh is no exception. If you learn English in Edinburgh, you will have plenty of opportunities to speak with many native speakers on a daily basis

2. It’s cheaper than London.

Overloaded blue piggy bank, surrounded by gold and silver coins.

Cost of living index, Expatistan.com, estimates that the cost of living is currently around 30% cheaper in Edinburgh than in London (with housing 39% more expensive and transport 47% more)

Edinburgh voted best budget city for students to live in the UK

3. There are excellent employment opportunities in Edinburgh.

Why choose to study English in Edinburgh? There are excellent employment opportunities in Edinburgh

It has the UK’s 2nd and Europe’s 6th largest financial sector and is home to a range of multinational companies across several industries. In fact, Edinburgh is the second highest-paying city to work in the UK, according to a recent survey carried out by MoneySupermarket.com

4. It has a rich cultural heritage

Why choose to study English in Edinburgh? It has a rich cultural heritage

Because Edinburgh is such an interesting city, there is a higher incentive to go out and learn about it whilst practicing your English at the same time

5. It is a well-connected city

Why choose to study English in Edinburgh? It is a well-connected city

With easy access through road, rail, sea or air with many international and connecting flights arriving and departing every day from Edinburgh airport.

6. It’s easy to get around once you’re here.

Why choose to study English in Edinburgh? It’s easy to get around once you’re here

In fact, you can travel almost anywhere in the centre of Edinburgh by walking. Otherwise, you can travel by bus through the city’s frequent and well-connected network or by bicycle on the city’s cycle paths which include traffic-free routes.

7. It has a large student community.

Campus photos of Georgetown Law School.

Once you are here, you will be able to meet many like-minded people and practice your English with new friends.

8. It’s Britain’s safest city.

Why choose to study English in Edinburgh? It's Britain’s safest city,

According to a recent poll by YouGov, with 86% of those surveyed praising its “safe and secure” streets.

9. Edinburgh is a “City of Literature” 

Books HD

and was the first place in the world receive this title from UNESCO. Many classic and modern works have been set or written in Edinburgh, not to mention the Harry Potter Series, so you will have plenty of opportunities to visit the places you are reading about.

10. Edinburgh is a top choice for film fans.

EIFF at the Cameo

As well as the Edinburgh International Film Festival, the city is home to some great independent cinemas such as the Cameo, Filmhouse and Dominion which show a wide variety of films from around the world. It’s also a coveted destination for filmmakers and some movies which have been filmed in and around Edinburgh include “Trainspotting”, “One Day”, “The Da Vinci Code”, “Chariots of Fire”, “The 39 Steps” and “One Day”. The feature-length animated film, “The Illusionist” was also set in Edinburgh

11. It has a great nightlife.

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In Edinburgh’s city centre, you can find everything from traditional pubs serving local craft beers to glamorous cocktail bars and energetic nightclubs. When the festival comes in August, the nightlife in Edinburgh varies even more with the opening of open-air bars and temporary theatres but there are still plenty of opportunities for night-owls to go out and meet new people all year round

12. It is the top destination for visitors to Scotland

St Giles Cathedral

and Edinburgh Castle is Scotland’s most visited attraction. It is also very easy to access the rest of Scotland from Edinburgh by train or car, so it’s a great place to be if you are interested in exploring the rest of the country.

13. It is home to the largest arts festival in the world.

edinburgh festival

Every year in August, Edinburgh’s population doubles as it hosts thousands of performers and visitors during a number of festivals which take place during this time. At other times of the year, you can find many other festivals and events based around music, film, literature and dance.

14. Edinburgh is the happiest city in the UK.

Edinburgh Mardi Gras

According to a 2014 survey by the Office for National Statistics. It is believed that this is partly due to the high average salary and a below-average cost of living compared with the rest of the UK. Personally, we think it’s due to the friendly people, beautiful scenery and countless things to do!

15. Edinburgh is “the UK’s favourite city”

as voted for by readers of the British newspapers, The Guardian and The Observer. In fact, it has held this title for 13 consecutive years.

Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh

Finding it hard to improve your English? Tips to keep you motivated!

Finding it hard to improve your English? Tips to keep you motivated!

Most English learners will find that they reach a plateau at some point. This is where you can speak English well enough to communicate with others but you notice less improvement in your language skills than you did at the start. Many find they have reached a comfort zone where there is a danger of becoming demotivated as they can already get by using the English words, phrases and tenses with which they are comfortable.

If you want to progress in English, this can be the most difficult stage on your learning journey but it’s important to push past this. Here are some tips on how to stay motivated when learning English:

1. Picture yourself in the future

Imagine what you could do if you could speak English as fluently as your first language. Would you be able to get your dream job? Get promoted in your current work? Delve deeper into English-language culture? Whatever your motivation was to learn English in the first place, try to remember it throughout your language-learning journey.

2. Go on holiday

back view of Travel man with backpack sitting on tail of the boat with lake and mountain view, Travel concept

Go on holiday somewhere where you don’t speak the language. If you’re living in an English-speaking country, you will be able to see how far you have come by going to a country where you hardly understand anything. You can then come back refreshed and motivated to keep going.

3. Get into an English-language TV series

There are a number of great TV shows in English that are addictive and will keep you coming back for more. You will also be motivated to improve in order to increase your understanding of the storyline.

4. Join a local club or try volunteering

Local clubs and societies are a great way to meet new people and can be great motivators to improve your English. Try to join a group or volunteer in something outside of your comfort zone. That way, you can improve your vocabulary and speak about subjects that would normally never come up in your everyday life. Meetup.com is a great way to find groups like this.

5. Challenge yourself

Set yourself a goal such as taking an official English exam. This will put pressure on you to improve before the date of the exam and will allow you to measure your success in a formal context.

6. Imitate your favourite celebrity

If your favourite celebrity is a native speaker of English, or if they have learned English as a second language, you can use their story as motivation to improve your own language skills.

7. Take a course

By taking an English language course, you are committing yourself to take the time to improve. It’s also the best learning environment as you will consistently learn new things and your mistakes will be corrected by the teacher.

>> All our options here

8. Improve your relationships with native speakers

A great motivator to improve your language skills is to build on your relationships with your English-speaking friends and/or colleagues. Native speakers will sometimes subconsciously change they speak when speaking to non-native speakers (think of the way you communicate with people who are learners of your own language). Get to know people in a new light by improving your English to a stage where native-speakers will speak to you as they would other natives.

9. Remember there is still a lot to learn

Those with the ability to speak English at a native level generally have one thing in common – they never stop learning. Even if you are comfortable at the level you can communicate in, learning a language is a life-long process where there is always room for improvement.

10. Take action

By improving your English, you are opening doors to more opportunities in your career, social life and personal development. There is no better time than the present, so take the first steps towards improving your English today!

At inlingua Edinburgh, we offer evening and part-time General English and Exam Preparation courses to fit around your work and life here in Edinburgh. Lessons are led by qualified, native-speaking trainers in small groups to maximise speaking practice. We have classes to suit each level and there are no mixed-level groups.

Why wait? Take the first step towards improving your English and contact us now!