The following relates to Chapter 53 in my 1st Book A Storm in Any Port describing some of the places the crew visited.
The crew of the Emerald looking for a place to drink, that had a wee bit ‘atmosphere’, ended up at the Kilmartin Hotel, near the Crinan Canal, where they had their first (and last) experiences of a Scottish Ceilidh!
Apart from the warm welcome and customary hard drinking that was going on, Zander learned another traditional skill, of Playing the Spoons!
So, what exactly is a ceilidh?
Modern ceilidhs (pronounced kay’lee in case you were wondering…) tend to be most popular at special events such as weddings, parties, fundraisers or large dinners. It’s a great way to celebrate with friends, colleagues or loved ones and make for great memories and stories for the future. Ceilidh bands tend to be made up of three to six players, playing instruments such as fiddles, flutes, accordions, drums and even electric guitars, and the songs are cheery and lively to get everyone up in the mood to dance!
What’s the history of ceilidhs in Scotland?
Traditionally, a ceilidh was just another term for a social gathering held in a hall or larger community space, and did not have to involve dancing of any sort. These gatherings would allow participants to tell stories, sing songs and participate in group dances.
Whilst the traditional meaning for ceilidh has been taken over by people just equating it with dancing, it always has a great community spirit and it’s a lovely way to celebrate traditional Scottish culture. Ceilidh dancing is often taught in primary schools in Scotland so we know the steps from an early age!