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Every June the town of Lanark in Scotland holds its Lanark Gala Day celebrations. The festivities reach a high point on the Thursday of Lanark Gala Day week, when the town's school children parade in fancy dress with decorated vehicles, pipe bands, and a Lanimer Queen and her Court, who have been elected from local children.
The Lanimer celebrations are based on King David I (r. 1124 - 1153) granting Lanark the status of Royal Burgh during his reign. A condition of the charter stated that the merchants of the town must inspect their March or boundary stones each year. Lanark claims to have carried out this duty every year since then, and the Land Marches became transformed over time into the annual Lanimer celebrations.
Events in Lanark Gala Day Week
Lanark Gala Day Week begins on Sunday when the Lord Cornet Elect is led from the town's Memorial Hall to Saint Nicholas' Parish Church for the Kirkin' of the Lord Cornet Elect Service. On the Monday evening, crowds turn out for the Perambulation of the Marches, when officials and members of the public walk the boundaries. A Scottish country dance display takes place at Lanark Cross, followed by the Sashing of the Lord Cornet and the Shifting of the Burgh Standard. The evening ends with the Lord Cornet's Reception. An official ride-out around the town takes place on Tuessday night, followed by the presentation of the New Lanark Loving Cup to the Lanark Gala Day Queen Elect at New Lanark. The Lanark Gala Day Queen's Reception is held on the Friday evening in the Memorial Hall. Saturday sees the Lanimer Ball at Lanark Market when the Lord Cornet escorts the Lanimer Queen.
This is not to be confused with Landemer which is a similar festivity held in the nearby town of Rutherglen, also in South Lanarkshire. Landemer is normally held the first Saturday in June, but often has to change in recent years due to commitments in the nearby Hampden Park in Glasgow.
Lanark Gala Day
Lanark Gala Day is usually held on the Thursday between 6 and 12 June, barring a June election. Schoolchildren and others parade through the town in costumes accompanied decorated lorries. This is known as the Lanimer Queen's Procession. They each receive a Lanimer medal for participating. With the children march brass and pipe bands, ex-cornets, and visiting dignitaries. The court ride in cars after the parade, and the Queen has an open-top coach.
Once the procession has gone once around the town centre, the children mount a stand in front of St Nicholas Church (and a statue of William Wallace on the steeple). The court also climb the stand and the Queen is crowned by a local lady, to acclaim from the assembled crowds. "Flower of Scotland" and "Scots Wha Hae" are played, and a Lanimer Proclamation read out, followed by "God Save the Queen", the British national anthem.
Later in the afternoon, the Lord Cornet has another procession on horseback. Various entertainments for children and adults are laid on at Castlebank Park, and musical entertainment takes place at the cross in the evening. Finally, children perform at the Lanimer Queen's Reception on the Friday night.