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Let's Have A Ceilidh

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Scotland is land of many proud and slightly quirky traditions. One of these is the cèilidh (pronounced "kay-lee"), which is the name given to a party that involves (a subset of) 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. One of the better known ceilidh dances is ''The Gay Gordons''.

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Ceilidhs 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, and cities with a large Irish community where traditional music is played. In Irish (rather than Scots Gaelic), it's spelled céilí.

A Sub-Trope of Dances and Balls.


Examples:

Comic Books

  • The X-Men mini-series "True Friends" starts out with Kitty Pryde and Rachel Summers at a ceilidh.

Fanfiction

Film

  • 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.
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  • The villagers have one at the start of Another Time, Another Place.
  • Local Hero spends a good deal of time at the village ceilidh - just one more reason for American oil exec Mac to want to stay.

Literature

  • 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.

Live-Action TV

  • The 2012 Downton Abbey Christmas Special featured the MacClares hosting a ceilidh, although they called it a "Gillies' Ball" since it doubled as a servants' ball.note 
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  • The High Life: One episode, appropriately titled Birl, featured a staff cèilidh.

Music

Theatre

  • The first part of the second act of Riverdance takes place at one. Mood Whiplash sets in when 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.

Video Games

  • In Civilization V, the Celt civ builds ceilidh halls instead of opera houses. They provide as much culture as a standard opera house, but they give more happiness.


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