‘Feast’ : Event No.1 @ Tent Gallery
30 November 2009 : 6.30pm onwards
Hosted by Elise Campbell


Scottish Gaelic pronunciation : cʰeːli

English pronunciation : KAY-lee

Today, a cèilidh will be familiar to many as a traditional Gaelic social dance event of Scottish or Irish origin, where an assemblage of vigorous set dances are accompanied by spirited and lively fiddle music. Prior to the advent of discos and nightclubs, cèilidhs were to be found every weekend in most town and village halls throughout Scotland and Ireland. A popular social outlet for many rural communities, cèilidhs offered opportunities for courtship and marriage proposals.

Historically cèilidhs were simply a social gathering, of any kind, and did not necessarily involve dancing. They were a place of intellectual entertainment, where songs were sung and stories were told; where poetry was recited and ballads rehearsed; where questions were posed and the mind was challenged; where proverbs were quoted, and where a vast array of literary matters and current affairs were discussed and debated.

Highland cèilidhs were invaluable educational resources; the schoolrooms of the past. Often around a peat fire, families and neighbours would gather and share information regarding the many aspects of their lives. The legacy of the highland cèilidh is far-reached; they are where Scottish moral standards were born and where character and personality was developed.

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