How to Ceilidh

At most occasions in Scotland, like Hogmanay, weddings, university grad ball, prom, anniversaires, Christmas and fundraisers a ceilidh is the Scots go-to party. It’s a night of traditional dancing and a great way to meet new people.


On Friday, we were invited to a ceilidh here in Brussels, by our Scottish friend, we met through french classes. In most schools in Scotland, you learn how to ceilidh dance every year for the school’s Christmas parties. Even though these dances only happen once a year, the steps, names and music are with you forever. I have been to many ceilidh’s in Scotland, but never one abroad. A surreal first for me.


When attending a ceilidh, there are somethings to remember. Here are my top-tips to get the best out of a ceilidh.

Dress the part

A ceilidh is just like a party, mostly to celebrate something. Meaning, formal wear is a must. When attending a ceilidh, you want to dress in something comfy, but not jeans and trainers. Dress smart with a bit of movement. Men usually wear kilts, with women opting for a dress.

Be Hygienic

Sounds silly to say, but shower before and after. You will be in close contact with other people and it’s only courteous to them that you don’t smell of body odour when you become their partner. Trust me, it’s the first think people will notice. If you can, take a small deodorant with you.

Join in

Ceilidh’s are all about having fun, it doesn’t matter if you get it right, its always the taking part that counts. Don’t be afraid to join in, even if you don’t have a partner, there’s always going to be a group that needs one more dancer.

Just Ask

If you are unsure, just ask. Scottish people are very friendly and welcoming. The band will usually give a demonstration at the start of each dance and they are quite straightforward.

Take a Break – Some of the dances require a lot of energy, and you will definitely work up a sweat. The band usually take breaks to allow you to have a breather. Have something to drink, chat with someone briefly, or just catch you breath. Make sure to drink throughout the night.

Have Fun!

A ceilidh is all about letting go, relaxing and having fun. So make some new friends, learn some new dances and enjoy it!


And that’s my simple guide to ceilidh.


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