I went to my first céilidh (pronounced kay-lee) in Aberdeen last December at The Marcliffe Hotel (which, to me personally, was a disaster, since I wore a long ball gown that sweeps the floor, very glamorous for waltz but not suitable for Scottish dance which involves lots of bounces and skips and takes so much energy, so instead of focusing on the dance, I was busy trying to keep my gown off of floors so no one incidentally stepped on it), and there is another one coming at the Hilton Treetops Hotel in February. Ms. Young from Outpost Aberdeen sent out an email informing this upcoming event, as quoted:

A céilidh (gaelic word) was traditionally a gathering organized in someone’s home during the dark winter nights in the Highlands and Islands. Within every community would be a storyteller and musicians, and they would perform impromptu at one of these gatherings. If space permitted there would also be dancing, but this was not quite so common. The 20th century saw the rise of the ‘village hall’ and there was a shift from private homes to this communal facility. Greater space enabled more dancing and today the word ‘ceilidh’ has come to me an evening of Scottish country dancing.

What do we do beside dancing (and drinking whisky?). Eating, of course. I have mentioned about haggis (see picture on the left) on my Burns Supper post, and there is another Scottish dish called stovies, a simple dish which consists of potatoes, onions and beef (usually left over from the Sunday roast). They are cooked together until the potatoes break down, so that they resemble mashed potatoes. Stovies are eaten with oatcakes and beetroot and served with a glass of milk. Stuart and I made stovies once, and since it’s very easy, I’m sure everyone can do that too. Check the recipe here, here, or here.

Now, if I decide to go for this céilidh, I must find suitable gown this time! Hmm… another reason for shopping?

Haggis picture is borrowed from Freefoto.


  1. Anita, are there any dress codes for the ladies on what to wear to participate in this dancing? What about the male dancers?? do they wear the same costumes like in the picture?

  2. Finally Woken says:

    @Elyani: Well, it’s a black tie event, so guys wear kilts and ladies wear formal gown. But sensible ladies turn up with cocktail dress (knee-length gown), it’s easier to skip and bounce without keeping pulling your skirt off of floor. Also after a few of dances, we kick off the shoes and go bare feet.

    Dancers?? There’s no dancers. We all dance!! So the band will announce they’re going to play certain song and it’s time for certain dance, and all guests get up and get some quick lesson (usually there are people who could do this steps), then we all dance when the music starts.

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