Saint Pirans Day

This weekend, folks all over Cornwall will be donning black, white and gold and taking part in celebrations around the county in honour of Saint Pirans Day which takes place on Sunday.

Legend has it that Saint Piran (a 6th century  abbot and Saint) floated across the Irish sea to Cornwall having been cast out by the ‘Heathen Irish’ by order of the Irish King who was suspicious of his miraculous healing powers.

According to legend, he was tied to a mill-stone and rolled over the edge of a cliff into stormy seas which immediately calmed, before floating all the way to Cornwall coming ashore at Perranporth. Having made Cornwall his new home, according to legend, he accidentally rediscovered tin-smelting when the ore hearthstone (which contained tin) on his fireplace got so hot it caused a white cross to appear on the surface. For this discovery, he was bestowed the honour of being named ‘Patron Saint of Tinners’ (tin-miners), mining being the backbone of Cornwall at this time. The discovery was also the basis for the Saint Piran flag which is a white cross on a black background  (denoting the hot white tin cross on the black hearthstone background).

Not long after landing in Cornwall, Saint Piran also established an Oratory or, small chapel (the remains of which are visible today after on-going excavation project) on Penhale Sands, close to Perranporth. Every year on St Pirans Day (5th March) a Grand Procession takes place where folks dressed in black, white and gold, the colours of Cornwall, cross the dunes to Penhale Sands, the site of Saint Piran’s cross and also the site of his Oratory. Other celebrations of Cornish music and song are also held throughout the county to view a list of many of them, click here…


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