What is St Piran’s Day?

Saint Piran's day, also known as the Feast of Saint Piran, is held on March 5th and is the national day of Cornwall. Towns and villages across the county celebrate all things Cornish such as pasties, cider and putting clotted cream on top of jam. Parades of locals and school children line the streets dressed in black, white and gold and sometimes even dress as badgers, foxes and bears.
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Why is St Piran so important to the Cornish?

To understand the significance of St Pirans day you have to recognise the vast mining heritage in Cornwall.

Mining in the southwest started in the early Bronze Age around 2150 BC, that’s over 4000 years ago!

Cornwall was rich in Tin and Copper, the two metals required to make Bronze. The mining of these metals generated wealth and jobs across Cornwall and established it as the mining centre of the world.

Remnants of this heritage are littered around Cornwall in the form of engine-houses, mines, folklore, the name of our towns, and even our national flag (known as the Saint Piran’s Flag) 〓〓 …so with such a rich past around mining Tin, you can imagine how popular the person who discovered tin in the area would be – that person was St Piran!

Who was St.Piran?

According to the legend St Piran, by orders from the king, was to be tied to a millstone and pushed into the sea. The orders were fulfilled by the Irish and he was pushed from a cliff in Ireland into a stormy sea – the moment he hit the water it immediately settled and went calm.

By some miracle Piran escaped and washed up on a sandy beach by Perranzabuloe, now known as Perransands – can you guess who they’re named after?

He quickly got to work re-establishing his sanctity by building an Oratory. Remains of this still stand berried north of Perranporth.

© Copyright Gary Rogers and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence.

Among his first Christian converts were said to have been a badger, a fox, and a bear. This is why people often dress as and celebrate these animals on St Pirans day.

His story, personality, sanctity and austerity won the hearts of all the Cornish around him, people spoke and travelled from around Cornwall to seek his charitable miracles.

Whilst mining had previously been big in Cornwall it was lost following the arrival of the Romans. Piran re-discovered tin-smelting when his black hearthstone (the floor piece of a fireplace), leaked white tin onto the slabs forming a white cross. This allegedly re-established the modern tin mining industry in Cornwall.

How can I celebrate Saint Pirans day?

Check-in with your local council for information on events. For our local Penzance residents, here is more information.

In our cafe

A slice of the tradition can be felt any day at our cafe where we serve Cornish cream tea. Pop by on St Pirans day to see his flag waving high in the sky whilst having a scone or two.

Have a dip in the Geothermal Pool

Our geothermal sessions are running as usual, including a discount for Cornwall residents.

The Synchro Sisterhood Sessions by Out Of Sink

A synchronised swimming taster session with Out of Sink to celebrate International Women’s Day.

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