What's St Piran's Day all about? 5 crucial facts

Cornwall has been having a bit of a party this weekend as we celebrated St Piran’s Day (5th March). Visitors may have been a bit bemused by it all, so here’s 5 things you need to know about St Piran’s Day Celebrations - a whistle-stop tour:

  1. St Piran St Piran is purported to have been a monk living in the 5th Century, and was famous in Ireland for raising soldiers from the dead. The Irish Kings didn’t seem very impressed with all these miracles, so arranged for him to be thrown in the sea with a millstone around his neck. Luckily for the Cornish, he survived through another miracle and landed on the sands of Perranporth where you can find St Piran’s Oratory Chapel to this day. He is supposed to have accidentally discovered tin and was therefore made the Patron Saint of Miners (of which there were many in Cornwall).

  2. The Cornish flag This striking flag is something visitors will often see on car bumpers and up the odd flagpole. It’s seen in increasing numbers around St Piran’s Day (5th March). The Black flag with white cross is supposed to be an image of the black rock/ore and the line of white metal tin. The Cornish have always had strong cultural links with the people of Breton and it is therefore of no surprise that the Breton flag is a white flag with black cross.

  1. Trelawney The song in the heart of every Cornishman! This rousing song, also known as The Song of the Western Men, is all about the Cornishmen marching to London to free Trelawney (who could be John Trelawney, or Jonathan Trelawney as they were both imprisoned in the Tower at some point). Either way, the song has become for many the unofficial Cornish National Anthem.

  2. Trelawney Shout If you were staying in Cornwall last weekend and were sat in a pub at around 9pm on 5th March you may have witnessed a Trelawney Shout. Choirs, shanty groups, bands and locals all sing as one in pubs around the county the stirring song, Trelawney (see No 3). Presumably they wait until 9pm to ensure that everyone’s “whistles are wet!” It certainly makes a great sound!

  1. St Piran’s Day Parades There are countless parades in many towns and villages across Cornwall, from Falmouth to Bude. Some can be huge, with masses of Cornish flags (see No 2) and people of all ages singing, dancing and playing instruments. Some parades include specially made paper sculptures and there will be lots of the yellow Cornish Tartan! Perhaps the most famous is the parade across the dunes of Perranporth to St Piran’s Oratory Chapel which was recently reclaimed from the sands on the beach.

Have you been to one of the St Piran’s Day events?

If so, please let us know where and if you have pictures even better!

Comment on our Facebook link above.

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