In Scotland, a fun tradition to experience is attending a cèilidh, a night of Scottish country dancing. It doesn’t matter if one is a complete beginner to the different dances, the musicians/callers walk all participants through the dance one or two times before, so that when the music starts, each pair, trio, or group of four can begin whirling away! I attended my first cèilidh with a group of friends at local restaurant, where our pairs ended up dancing with several other pairs in order to perform complex group dances. With lively Scottish music featuring the bagpipes, accordion, violin, and guitar, it’s impossible not to feel excited when learning these new dances. I also got to attend a street cèilidh for the town’s St Andrew’s Day celebrations this past weekend.
A large number of people from the University and the town showed up and it was a massive gathering taking place on the one of the town streets. Attending that first cèilidh helped prepare for me the next one, where I was able to anticipate the steps and had an easier time navigating the dances even with the sheer volume of people bumping into each other! As the dancing went on, the caller decided to lead us through a dance where we had to change partners for each iteration; trying to find a new partner among the people was crazy, but I danced with a lot of different people all scrambling to find partners themselves. It was such a welcoming event and made me feel closer to the larger St Andrean community. Hopefully, I’ll get to go to one more before I leave in a few weeks!