St Piran’s Day is the national day of the people of Cornwall, and is held on the 5th of March every year. Named after the Patron Saint of Cornwall, Saint Piran, this is a great time to visit Cornwall and join in with traditional celebrations taking place across the region. From plays and storytelling, to parades and folk dancing, there’s something for the entire family.
St Piran was born in Ireland, and after performing miracles such as ‘raising the dead’, the Kings of Ireland were not impressed. After throwing St Piran into the sea, he allegedly floated across to Perran Beach in Perranporth, despite having a milestone around his neck. It was here where he built a small chapel, and set up his oratory among the sand dunes. People would come from far and wide to hear him preach. Legend has it, he was also the person who accidently discovered tin.
From local community events, to a regional mass pub sing-a-long, there’s plenty of events celebrating the life of St Piran which you can get involved in. To help plan your visit, we’ve put together a list of some of the top St Piran’s Day celebrations, which you’ll not want to miss.
St Piran Play, Perranporth, 5th March
The St Piran Play on Perran Sands is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the traditions of Cornwall, and discover the story of their national day. Every year, people from across the country and further afield make the journey to Perranporth, to join in with the celebrations and visit the location where St Piran was said to have first stepped onto Cornish land.
Hundreds of people, many dressed in Cornwall’s traditional colours of black, white and gold, and carrying the Cornish flag, cross the sandy dunes to St Piran’s Cross. It’s here where history really comes to life, as actors and musicians tell the story of St Piran, from his birth in Ireland and his arrival in Cornwall, to his discovery of tin and his Christian ministry.
Perranporth is just 20 minutes away from the iconic Cornish beach of Holywell, where the whole family can explore sandy beaches, rocky headlands, and coastal walking routes.
Image courtesy of Colin Retallick
The Trelawny Shout, various pubs across Cornwall, 5th March
Legend tells us that St Piran was fond of a drink or two, so it’s only fitting that local pubs play a big part in the day’s celebrations. Get your singing voices at the ready and join in with hundreds of pubs across Cornwall, as part of the “Trelawny Shout”.
The shout, a term used for Cornish pub singing, is a common event in pubs up and down the country, with regular sing-songs taking place – especially on special occasions. But the Trelawny Shout is a little bit different.
At 9pm exactly, crowds all over Cornwall will break into song with Robert Stephen Hawker’s Trelawny “The Song of the Western Men”. The event helps to raise money for local charities, with proceeds going to good causes across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, thanks to the Cornwall Community Foundation. This year promises to be bigger and better than previous years, with local fishermen and community choirs having already signed up to lead the sing-song at various locations.
Image courtesy of Tamas Haydu, Cornwall Community Foundation
St Piran’s Day Parade, Bodmin, 6th March
Just 30 minutes away from the small Parish and Village of St Minver, is an event which you will not want to miss. To celebrate St Piran’s Day, the people of Bodmin and around Cornwall come together to parade through the town, performing to the ever-growing crowd.
The parade in Bodmin first started in 1999, and it’s growing every year. The celebrations kick off with Cornish pipers and dancing children parading through the town, ending at Mount Folly.
Children can then go to St Petroc’s Church, where they will get the chance to present their own contributions towards the day. After speeches and performances by various people, the parade is finished with a good old Cornish pasty. The parade will start at 11am from the Library on Lower Bore Street, and all are welcome to go along and enjoy the celebrations.
Video sourced from Bodmin Lions
St Piran’s Day Festival, Redruth, 4th March
First held in 2011, the St Piran’s Day Festival in Redruth is great for a family day out. The festival celebrates the history of the town’s role in the tin industry, and showcases the spectacular Cornish culture.
From 11am, there will be street entertainment, live music, tin panning, craft fairs, a children’s town trail, a fascinating exhibition by the Redruth Story Group, and plenty more activities to keep you entertained. Choirs will also lead a parade, singing the Trelawney as they march.
Just over 30 minutes from the largest village on the Lizard Peninsula, Mullion, this is the perfect place to take the children. New to 2017, at Fair Meadow Car Park there will be go karts, laser tag, a toddler play zone, and even a bouncy castle. If all of that hasn’t tired the kids out, then head over to Alma Place, where you’ll see owls from Screech Owl Sanctuary, get a chance to dig up some goodies at St Piran’s Dig and even have a go on the miniature steam engine and merry-go-round. This annual event is not one to be missed.
Video sourced from Brian Pierce