A Beginners Guide To Surviving A Ceilidh

In amongst the bills and the offers for life insurance, you’ve just received an invitation … and there’s a ceilidh …. a whit?


Step 1 – Don’t panic!


We’re all get through this together. Here’s the Borland Ceilidh Band’s guide to surviving a ceilidh. After reading this, you’ll be a pro, people will be in awe of your ceilidh masterdom (if that’s even a word).


Step 2 – Saying THAT word


First step is the name – it’s “Kay Lee” – like the song (is it to late to say I’m sorry?)
It’s a Scots Gaelic word for a social gathering. Don’t call it ‘social dancing’ or ‘country dancing’ as you’ll instantly look like a creepy old uncle.


Step 3 – What will I wear?


Please remember – You are being asked to turn up to a social event and not being cast to a remake of ‘Brigadoon’.
When planning what to wear – think of a house party with the same guests and dress the same way….
So… if the people going are all your friends and you are all drinking, don’t turn up in a tuxedo, similarly, if it’s a wedding then don’t turn up in jeans and a t-shirt. If you want to wear a kilt then feel free to do so. (see kilt section). In truth – unless it’s some grand ball or something (I’ve never been to one so I’m basing this entirely on Cinderella) no-one actually adheres to any dress code so wear what you want.


Step 4 – Hey Mister… anything under that kilt?


So you’ve decided that you fancy hiring a kilt for the ceilidh? Everyone can look good in a kilt – provided you follow these rules….


Don’t wear it too long or short. Simply get down on your knees and the kilt should just be almost touching the floor.
You can dress down with a kilt by wearing a t-shirt but if you do, wear boots instead of smart shoes and don’t have your socks fully up (or you’ll be that creepy uncle again)
You don’t need to be Scottish to wear a kilt – no-one is offended if you wear a particular tartan
When dancing a fast dance – swivel your sporran to the side to avoid any unwanted bruises (not sure if wanted bruises exist)
Don’t wear shorts – who does that?
both too long ..


Step 5 – Kids


KIdsKids are allowed to run about and slide down the hall in their knees … give them a break – they didn’t ask to be there. Oh and teenagers probably don’t want to sit with you – they have their own table.


Step 6 – The Gay Whit?


The Gay Gordons? Never heard of it? It’s a dance. Anyhoo, it doesn’t matter. Here are some of the names of dances…


  • The Gay Gordons – for couples (easy)
  • The Canadian Barn Dance – for couples (easy)
  • Highland Schottische – for couples (pretend to be going to the bar at this one)
  • Dashing White Sergeant – for groups (great fun)
  • Strip the Willow – for groups (you MUST do this one)
  • Eightsome Reel – for groups (you will lose all credibility on this one)

There are many more. It doesn’t matter if you know them or not because someone will take you though them. They’re designed to be danced with minimal instruction and whilst absolutely blind drunk so don’t be concerned about this in any way. Even I can dance them and I can’t even do the Birdie Dance!


Step 7 – Relax!


Relax and enjoy yourself! Have a drink! The more you drink the better you’ll be… well, too a point and then you’ll make a total arse of yourself but that goes without saying. If you do surpass that point and you’re now sleeping on couch, remember that at least the band would have enjoyed your chicken dancing.