St Piran’s Day
Find out more about the patron saint of Cornwall and how we celebrate the day in the county.
Starting off as a tin miners’ holiday in Cornwall, St Piran's Day has evolved to become a national celebration.
So where did it all begin?
To understand the roots of St Piran’s Day, we must go all the way back to the 4th century when St Piran was just a young man. Originally from Ireland, St Piran was said to possess many special abilities. Among these was the power to raise dead soldiers fallen in battle. Far from considered as miracles though, St Piran’s gifts were regarded with suspicion and fear. In attempt to get rid of him, the King of Ireland ordered him to be thrown into the sea, tied to a millstone. Off a cliff he was rolled into a stormy sea. But, instead of drowning in the monstrous waves, the sea immediately calmed and off St Piran floated, all the way to Cornwall.
Washing up on Perran Beach, St Piran’s arrival in Cornwall marked a much more harmonious chapter. Building a small chapel where he landed, St Piran soon began to gain quite the following. Upon rediscovering tin smelting in Cornwall, he became a hero and to this day mining remains a hugely important part of Cornish history and culture – recognised world over. In fact, if you look at the Cornish flag (the Flag of St Piran), you will see that it represents white tin flowing from black rock.
What happens on St Piran’s Day?
Officially held on the 5th March every year, St Piran’s Day events take place all over Cornwall, from large towns to tiny villages, often spanning a whole week. Very family-friendly, live music, parades and processions can be seen in Bude, Falmouth, Penzance, St Ives and Truro, to name but a few. One of the biggest celebrations though is held in Redruth, where a parade marches through the town accompanied by musicians and celebrators of all ages waving flags.
Apparently a fan of a drink or two, many Cornish like to conscientiously uphold St Piran’s tradition and enjoy a little tipple on the day! If you would like to take part, all are welcome (Cornish or no) to join in and pay homage to Cornwall’s patron saint. Gool Peran Lowen!