Welcoming participant & regular blogger Gema has written about the joy of a Scottish ceilidh, and where you can try it for yourself!
If you haven’t realised yet that the Scottish are mostly a bunch of friendly, open people who love have fun, you haven’t been in a Ceilidh.
I went for the first time not knowing what to expect nor what I was supposed to do, since I didn’t have any notion of the dances. No need of that: as soon as I stepped into the hall, a gentleman (you will hear the word “gentleman” and “lady” a lot in Ceilidhs) took my hand, asked my name and led me to the dance floor. I only had to follow him. There’s always a “caller” in the band, a person who explains the steps, in order to make it easier to the newcomers. Not that it helped a lot: I didn’t understand anything, so I just tried to mimic other’s movements. The non-written rule is “Follow the one with a kilt”. Although that doesn’t always work, in general they know the stuff.
The dances are highly energetic, so you need to wear comfortable shoes and light clothes: you’re going to sweat as you never did. But you’re going to laugh your head off as well. You’ll be stepped on, you’ll step on others’ feet, you are going to be pushed, you are going to push others, you will be pulled and you’ll pull as well, be lifted if you’re a woman, -if you’re a man you better don’t try to lift anyone in your early days-, bump into others, there’s going to be chaos around you… And you are going to enjoy it because the motto there is “Just have fun”. I felt so surprised that the regulars –the people who go regularly there and know how to dance properly- don’t mind at all that you are a complete disaster. They have patience to show you the steps and won’t get annoyed for your lack of skills. They accept it as normal, it’s part of the fun.
And if you’re lucky enough, someone will ask you to join them at the pub afterwards. Even if you have given their feet a hard time. If this is not being friendly…
Here’s some sites where you can find information about Ceilidhs in Edinburgh:
http://stramashedinburgh.com/ (Free Ceilidhs)