Many towns and villages across Scotland have annual gala days, bringing these areas together in a celebration of history and culture as well as community life. These events are often organised by voluntary committees. Historically, gala days took place in mining communities and there were often two gala days, one in May to celebrate the miner’s one-day holiday and the other in June. Gala days were a chance to dress up. Bands turned out to play music for a procession of children, which ended in a park where the rest of the day’s events took place. Today there are over 30 gala days in West Lothian and the Council offer financial assistance to the gala day committees, reflecting the particular traditions in their area.
East Calder Gala Day goes way back to 22 August 1919 when the West Lothian Courier reported on the Gala.
“The weather, although threatening at first, cleared up, and turned out a lovely afternoon. The first part of the day’s proceedings was the children’s procession. The children, numbering about 300, assembled at Almondell, and were marshalled by members of the committee. Headed by Crofthead Brass Band they paraded the village, and proceeded to the sports field, kindly donated by Mr Hamilton, Raw Farm. Here they were provided with eatables and proceeded to enjoy themselves”.
Quick Gala Facts:
- The Courier records also show that the CO-OP organised the Gala in the 1950’s
- The Gala format as we know it today goes back to 1961, when it was just a one day event.
- We have Gala Programmes from 1965 to the present day.
- The mid-week events started in 1967 and became a Gala Week
- The present day committee can remember that Mansefield had their own gala in the early 1970’s
- Wilkieston was added to the East Calder Gala in 1981.
- The 3 way split parade was introduced in 1984.
- We celebrated our 75th Anniversary in 1995.
- We reintroduced the Gala Queen in 2010 after an absence of nearly eighty years.
Former Gala Queens:
1928 - Daisy Samuels
1929 - Charlotte Peffers
1930 - Elizabeth Martin (Hurren)
1931 - Christina Wilson
1932 - Gracie Lightbody
2010 - Sarah Kinghorn