Galashiels, Scotland, Town Website
home | news | business | organisations | history | braw lads

Braw Lads

Galashiels Braw Lad's Gathering

At the crack of dawn on Saturday morning our young Principals gather for breakfast with the President of the Gathering and members of the Ceremonial Committee before they arrive at the Burgh Chambers for the start of the Braw Lads' Day.

At 8.00 am the Braw Lad receives the Burgh Flag from the President of the Gathering and vows to return it 'Unsullied and Untarnished' at 12 noon. The Braw Lad then leads the mounted cavalcade to Netherdale for the ceremony at the Raid Stane.

When they arrive, each Lass presents her Braw Lad with a sprig of Sour Plum from the surrounding trees. This is in commemoration of the affray in 1337, when a band of English soldiers where routed by the men of Gala when they were eating the sour plums. It is alleged that the river ran red with blood for three days and nights.

The Official cavalcade then ford the River Tweed at the old Abbots' Ford, split from the main cavalcade and proceed to Abbotsford House. In the meantime the Main Cavalcade has started to ride the burgh boundaries.

The Officials meet up with the main cavalcade and once again the Braw Lad leads his party back across the River Tweed and onwards to the Auld Town Cross for the Mixing of the Roses.

This ceremony commemorates the marriage of Margaret Tudor of England to King James the Fourth of Scotland in 1503 when Margaret was given the Ettrick Forrest as her dowry and as such the red and white roses are mixed by the Braw Lass in a moving ceremony at the Auld Town Cross to re-enact the act of Sasine.

The Official Party leave the platform and are replaced by officials of the Executive Council and the President of the Braw Lads' Gathering who meet the Laird of Gala and exchange a parchment marking the election of the town to Burgh of Barony status in 1599.

The Official Party now proceed to the home of the Laird of Gala where the Braw Lad, Braw Lass and their Attendants are meet and entertained by the Laird and his family. They then rejoin the main cavalcade and proceed up Scott Street heading towards the War Memorial, where only the Braw Lad remains mounted.

Still carrying the flag, at the stroke of twelve, the Braw Lad dips the Burgh Flag and a period of silence is observed to show respect to the fallen of the two World Wars.

The Official Party then return to the Burgh Chambers to receive the cheers of the mass crowds for a job well done and to return the Burgh Flag to the President of the Braw Lads' Gathering.

At 8 p.m. there is a small dignified ceremony where the Braw Lass lays her mixed roses at the War Memorial after which they return to the Volunteer Hall where the Un-Sashing Ceremony is held.

Sunday evening brings this years Gathering to a close with a service at Gala Isle and usually starts the organisation for next years Braw Lads' Gathering.

Next: The Braw Lads' Executive

Site by Bordernet in the Scottish Borders  |   legal