Ceilidhs facilitated courting and prospects of marriage for young people

Ceilidhs (pronounced “Kayleys”) are similar to barn dances, but with that extra something! They were traditionally evenings of entertainment that involved singing, dancing and theatre. They were often held in barns allowing whole villages to get together for a party.

In recent times the dancing portion of the event has usurped the other aspects of a Ceilidh.

Ceilidhs facilitated courting and prospects of marriage for young people and although discos and nightclubs have replaced Ceilidhs to a considerable extent, they are still an important and popular social outlet in rural parts of Scotland and Ireland, especially in the Gaelic- speaking west coast regions.

Ceilidhs are sometimes held on a smaller scale in private or public houses, for example in remote rural locations and during busy festivals. The formality of these can vary. Some mix modern pop music with a Scottish country dancing band and dress codes range from compulsory highland dress to informal. Knowledge and use of the basic dance steps is not necessary as a “Caller” (the person who knows all the traditional dances) explains to guests how the dances work.

Ceilidh music may be provided by an assortment of fiddle, flute, tin whistle, accordion, bodhran and in more recent times also drums and electric and bass guitar. The music is cheerful and lively and the basic steps can be learned easily.

The key player in a Ceilidh band is a really good caller who knows all the moves and can encourage guest to join in the fun.

 Words by Elite Entertainment

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