If you’re looking to book wedding or function entertainment, then you may have been informed about a Ceilidh but you may have no idea as to what this actually is. Don’t worry, this short guide will explain everything to you in as much detail as possible!

So. Just what is a Ceilidh?

First things first, you’re most definitely pronouncing it wrong unless someone already told you how to say it. The correct pronunciation is kay-lee, and it’s a Gaelic word that basically means ‘party’ or ‘gathering’. They’re a popular part of Scottish and Irish cultures, and a Ceilidh has quickly become an enjoyable addition to weddings, fundraising events, and functions.

It’s sometimes referred to as a Ceili, highland fling, or barn dance. In essence, that’s precisely what it is; lots of people getting together in a barn and dancing away to classic Gaelic folk songs. In modern times, a Ceilidh has moved out of the typical barn arena and can be held pretty much anywhere you like.

What happens at a Ceilidh?

As just mentioned, the whole aim of this gathering is to get loads of people together to have a really fun time. There will be folk dancing with some traditional music played by a live band. Now, the band is actually one of the most essential parts of a Ceilidh. In fact, no barn dance is complete without The Band and The Caller.

It’s fairly obvious what the band is responsible for; they play all the traditional folk songs and usually cycle through a pre-approved set. The caller has a significant role as they stand on stage with the band and call out the dances. Every ceili or Ceilidh will run through a whole host of traditional folk dances that gets everyone involved together. The caller will demonstrate the moves to everyone and call out hints as you’re grooving.

The songs and dances you do will depend on whether or not you’re having a traditional Scottish Ceilidh or an Irish Ceili. Either way, there will be a lot of couples dances performed in a ring, some ‘set’ dances which get you all into groups of four or eight, and the ever-popular step dances as well. These are the ones people tend to associate with this type of gathering as it includes Riverdance!

What occasions are perfect for a Ceilidh?

The very nature of a Ceilidh is to bring some entertainment to proceedings. As such, they’re ideal for so many different occasions. A lot of people choose to have a barn dance at their wedding reception as it helps encourage all the guests to take part in dancing and create an enjoyable atmosphere.

But, they’re also great at fundraising events as well because people can donate money to be involved in a Ceilidh. Also, due to their really upbeat nature, they’re perfect as function bands for events as well. If you’re looking to bring some traditional folk music to the occasion, then you really can’t look past a classic Ceilidh.

Hopefully, you now understand what a Ceilidh is, what happens during one, and when they’re commonly used. If you’ve got a wedding or function that needs some entertainment, then it could be absolutely perfect for you. For more information read our Ceilidh and Barn Dance FAQs.

We have Ceilidh Bands all over the UK. Book a ceilidh band near you or ask us to find the perfect ceilidh band for your event.