Let's Have A Ceilidh

Scotland is land of many proud and slightly quirky traditions. One of these is the céilidh (pronounced "kay-lee"), which is the name given to a party that involves Scottish country dancing. Usually takes place at weddings but can happen at other social functions. Music is usually provided by a band with accordions, fiddles and drums. If there are a lot of newbies present, someone from the band will usually call out instructions.

Céilidhs are still popular in Real Life, with most Scottish kids being taught the dances at school from the age of about 6 or 7 onward, usually at Christmas time. Happens a lot in Ireland too.

A Sub-Trope of Dances and Balls.


  • The 2012 Downton Abbey Christmas Special featured the MacClares hosting a céilidh.
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: The Yule Ball has elements of this, moreso in the film than the book. It was a nice touch to have Profesor McGonagall be the one who gives the dance lessons. Scottish audiences remember the trauma of being the one student forced to dance with the teacher.
  • The High Life: One episode, appropriately titled Birl, featured a staff céilidh.
  • In Civilization V, the Celt civ builds céilidh halls instead of opera houses. They provide as much culture as a standard opera house, but they give more happiness.
  • The villagers have one at the start of Another Time, Another Place.
  • The X-Men mini-series "True Friends" starts out with Kitty Pryde and Rachel Summers at a célidh.
  • The first part of the second act of Riverdance takes place at one. Mood Whiplash sets in hen you realise that it's a going-away party for those immigrating to America, and that most of the participants will never meet each other again.
  • The Nac Mac Feegle in the Tiffany Aching Discworld novels love a good "cailey", with the flexing o' the knees and the flying o' the kilts. Their favourite dance is the Five-Hundred-And-Twelvesome Reel.