Today in Scotland, if you see a ceilidh advertised, it’s likely to be an evening of participative dancing, led by a ceilidh band.
However, ceilidh originally meant ‘visiting’: a gathering of neighbours to tell stories, sing and occasionally to dance, if the evening went that way!
Over the last decade, Scottish Storytellers have revived the ceilidh tradition as a format for intimate storytelling events with a strong social dimension.
The structure of these evenings is traditionally informal and social. There will be a host for the evening to welcome everyone and contribute the first story or song. There is often a guest storyteller to provide a theme for the evening, but the floor is open to all to get up and have a go.
Tradition extends to payment. There are no tickets or booking. Normally a hat is passed around for contributions to pay the guest storyteller and support the organisation.