Tomorrow marks one of the most important days of the year for the Cornish – St Pirans Day, the national day of Cornwall, a day of celebrating St Piran or Perran as he is also known, a 5th century abbot and the patron saint of miners.
Legend suggests that he was thrown to sea in Ireland and managed to sail safely to Cornwall, landing on a small beach near Newquay which was named Perran Beach in his honour. It was here that Saint Piran built his oratory – a small chapel whose remains can still be seen today, submerged in sand.
Piran is said to have rediscovered tin-smelting when his black hearthstone had the tin smelt out of it and rose to the top in the form of a white cross thus igniting Cornwall’s immense historic mining industry and creating the Cornish flag which is so widely recognised today.
In times gone by this day was officially a tin miners holiday however these days the 5th March is marked with a number of festivals, feasts and parades in towns and villages across Cornwall.
One of the largest of St Piran’s Day events is held in Perranporth; the day includes a procession across Perrran dunes to St Piran’s Cross and his oratory to celebrate the excavation of the building. Led by Falmouth Marine band, people are invited to sing along to celebrate the day dressed in the local colours of black, white and gold.
Parades are held all over Cornwall including the main mining towns of Redruth, Bodmin, Falmouth and Truro and include a procession of local bands, traditional dancing, Cornish recitals and of course the singing of Cornwall’s most patriotic song Trelawny. After the parades most settle down to local feasts (including pasties of course!) and much merrymaking, usually entertained by shanty singing well into the evening.
For information about what celebrations are going on across the country please check out
and a Gool Peran Lowen! (happy St Pirans Day!)