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.

Originally, ceilidh (pronounced ‘kay-lee’) was the Gaelic name for any sort of social gathering and included entertainment such as music and song performances, storytelling and poetry readings. Traditionally ceilidhs also encouraged courting and marriage prospects for young people and still play an important part in social affairs throughout Scotland today.

Nowadays, dancing is the main focus of a ceilidh. A band plays traditional Scottish music, usually composed of fiddles accordions and drums, and will often guide newcomers through the steps before each dance takes place. Popular dances include The Dashing White Sergeant and Strip the Willow which you can watch here:

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!