Gool Peran Lowen to all of my fellow Cornish folk, or happy Saint Piran’s day to everyone else. St Piran’s day is a national day celebrated in Cornwall, England. St Piran, born in the 4th Century, is the patron Saint of tin -miners and is considered the patron Saint of Cornwall, but there are others that have taken claim to the title. Think St Patrick’s day in Ireland, or St George’s day in England. Although a Cornish celebration, it is thought that Saint Piran is actually Irish. He has also been identified as the Irish saint Ciarán of Saigir who was one of the twelve apostles of Ireland.
The legend of Saint Piran begins with him being thrown off an Irish cliff into the stormy sea tied to a millstone, basically a big, round rock. As soon as he landed in the sea it became calm. You’d think he’d sink, tied to a rock, but he, in fact, floated all the way from Ireland to Cornwall, a beach called Perranzabuloe. After arriving on the Cornish coast, Piran was considered to have the gift of miracles which awarded him many followers who would come asking for his help. Piran founded the Abbey of Lanpiran with the help of his Christain converts, he then became abbot of the abbey.
Piran rediscovered tin smelting. It wasn’t a new thing, tin smelting had been around before the Romans invaded Britain but had been lost over time. Piran used a tin-bearing ore, black hearthstone. When the tin was smelted out of the ore it created a white cross across the black hearthstone, thus creating the image of the Cornish flag that we still use today.
Cornwall celebrates the day on March 5th every year. Each town holds its own festival. The celebration consists of Cornish poets and musicians, fairground rides, stalls, rugby games, and parades featuring local school children. It’s a big day in the Cornish calendar. Not only is the day celebrated here, in Cornwall, but also in Grass Valley, California to honour the Cornish miners that were part of the American mining history during the 19th Century.
So I’d like to wish everyone a Gool Peran Lowen!