There’s no better way to celebrate the end of the semester than partying with your friends to the rhythm of the Scottish folk music!
The 24th November the International Society held its annual and biggest event of the year, the Winter Ceilidh. It gave students a great opportunity to have fun and party in the old Scottish style. Never heard of it?
Originally a ceilidh meant any social gathering among neighbours, not necessarily with dancing. It comes from the Gaelic word cèle, meaning “companion”. Early ceilidhs included folk tales, poetry, singing and dancing as well. Dancing now dominates the modern ceilidh. The “man of the house” was usually the leader of the ceilidh, and in modern ceilidh, a master of ceremonies usually leads the dances.
The dances are all based on simple steps and formation, usually square, circle or two long lines that stretch down the room. The Gay Gordons, The Military Twostep, The St. Bernard’s Waltz, and Strip the Willow are amongst the most popular. Don’t think they are all dainty and slow. The dances are usually fast and very energetic, but anyone can join in, regardless of age or ability. Let’s take a look!
Ceilidh dancing “Strip the Willow”
The Winter Ceilidh was held in the Golden Lion Hotel. I bought the ticket the day ticket sales opened, because I didn’t want to miss it. Two of my roommates wanted to join as well, especially because it was the first time finally experiencing something different and, above all, Scottish! We were all so excited and curious, since we didn’t know what to expect. Never done ceilidh before.
When the day came, we dressed up in our fancy clothes, wore our dancing shoes and headed to the Hotel. The magnificent Regency Ballroom was beautifully set up for the occasion. The ceilidh band, ready on the stage, featured 3 players (fiddle, accordion and guitar) with the fiddle player being the caller. As is the custom, the caller took few minutes to instruct us on how to do the dances, before each ceilidh started.
We danced like there’s no tomorrow. All the dances were very energetic and we jumped up and down on the dancefloor. Just few breaks to catch our breath, a sip of water and then back in the game. I can’t describe the feeling, it was really exciting. Boys dressed up in kilts were twirling around. It looked like being back in the old days. The ballroom was full of people, and the night passed by chatting, laughing and dancing. It was one of the best nights I’ve been to since I moved to Stirling.
Don’t worry if you missed it. You have the chance to join the event next semester. Remember to put on your calendar. It’s a memorable experience you’ll never forget!
The University of Stirling’s International Society has been created with the aim to bring people together from all over the world in a multicultural environment and embrace new cultures while discovering the beauties of Scotland. It offers a variety of events, such as International food night, the Bonfire, Edinburgh Christmas market and Glasgow sightseeing and afternoon tea. For more information about the society and all the upcoming events check out the society’s Facebook page or email them for any further questions.