St. Piran's Day
Events held throughout Cornwall on the historical holiday to commemorate the patron saint of Cornwall.
St Piran's Day started as one of the many tinners' holidays observed by the tin miners of Cornwall. Other holidays or feast days include Picrous Day and Chewidden Thursday. The miners of Breage and Germoe observed St Piran's feast day as that of their patron saint until at least 1764.
"St. Piran's Day was said to be a favourite with the tinners who having a tradition that some secrets regarding the manufacture of tin were communicated to their ancestors by that saint, they leave the manufacture to shift for itself for that day, and keep it as a holiday."
There is little description of specific traditions associated with this day apart from the consumption of large amounts of alcohol and food during 'Perrantide', the week leading up to 5 March.
The day following the St Piran's Day was known by many as 'Mazey Day', a term which has now been adopted by the revived Golowan festival in Penzance. The phrase 'drunk as a perraner' was used in 19th century Cornwall to describe people who had consumed large quantities of alcohol.
The modern observance of St Piran's day as a national symbol of the people of Cornwall started in the late 19th and early 20th century when Celtic revivalists sought to provide the people of Cornwall with a national day similar to those observed in other nations. Since the 1950s, the celebration has become increasingly observed and since the start of the 21st century almost every Cornish community holds some sort of celebration to mark the event. Saint Piran's Flag is also seen flying throughout Cornwall on this day.
Parades and celebrations take place in a number of towns and cities including:
Bodmin - A parade through the streets with Cornish pipers and a children's dance. Speeches by various notables, including the town mayor, Lord Lieutenant, and Grand Bard of Cornwall, followed by children's performances of Cornish plays and songs.
Bude - a St Piran's day walk led by a piper and attended by hundreds of people annually.
Callington - Shop decorations and a St Piran's Supper with Cornish music and poetry.
Camborne - singing with Cadgwith Singers at Camborne Rugby Club.
Falmouth - parade through the town including nearly 100 school children. Shop window competition.
Launceston - Piping the Flag at Launceston Castle, followed by a procession through the town ending at Harvey's Bar including a night of traditional live music with renowned local musicians
London - 'Kernow in the City', annual live music event at the Institute of Contemporary Arts. Daytime activities include a showcase of Cornish film, a Cornish language workshop, and Cornish food and drink.
Marazion - Procession led by mayor and mace-bearers through the streets, a short ceremony with food and entertainment afterwards.
Newquay - St Piran's Feast. Annual Pasty Throwing competition at Newquay Zoo.
Penzance - annual performance of St Piran Furry dance and procession through the streets by 500 children. Annual St Piran Schools Concert.
Perranarworthal - St Pirantide celebrations at the Norway Inn. Cornish Evensong.
Perranporth - Saints and Skinners Festival: A double celebration of St.Piran and St.David with traditional Cornish music.
Porthleven - Raising the Flag ceremony with the Old Cornwall Society. Cornish dancing by three local schools.
Redruth - first held in 2011 and billed as the biggest St Piran's celebration in Cornwall. It includes entertainments in the town centre before a parade to the rugby club where there was a market and fairground rides, with a rugby match. During the evening there are various live music events at venues across the town. In 2011 over 2000 people attended the rugby club events while hundreds more attended events in the town. 2012 saw three separate marches from different parts of the town converge as one giant procession at the miner's statue before heading to the rugby club.
Rock - Homecomers celebrate St Piran.
Roche - St Pirantide celebrations, Victory Hall.
St Issey - Cornish music and singing.
St Ives - Procession through the streets.
Troon - Annual Mebyon Kernow St Pirans Fete.
Truro - Procession through the streets with speeches outside Truro Cathedral, which has a St Piran themed lunch menu in its cafe, and a Cornish folk music session afterwards.
Westminster - The St Piran’s Day reception is an annual celebration, held by Cornish MPs in Westminster since 2011. It is attended by MPs, members of the House of Lords and Government ministers from across the UK who come to learn more about Cornwall’s unique culture, heritage and identity. Dan Rogerson MP said of the 2012 event "The aim is to increase understanding of Cornwall’s Celtic heritage and culture in order to inform future debates on devolution, identity and government policy... and we are aiming to go bigger and better next year."
USA - St Piran's day is also celebrated annually in Grass Valley, California, United States, to honour the Cornish miners who participated in the area's mining history beginning in the mid 19th century.
In addition, Cornish genealogy organizations throughout the United States meet in celebration of Cornish history.
Event type: Festivals
Venue: Throughout Cornwall
Nearest town: Truro, Cornwall, UK
Stay at a nearby Holiday Park and keep the kids amused all day! Parks in the vicinity include those at:
Plenty of hotels are available locally. Consider those in the local towns:
There's plenty more to explore in this area, too! Find more attractions and things to do nearby: