Mebyon Kernow and celebrating St Piran’s Day, 5th March

The myths, memories, and stories that we tell about our homelands play a really important role in maintaining our sense of shared identities, updating our stories to keep them relevant, and providing the opportunity for a celebration of all things to do with our history and heritage, past and present.

For us Cornish folk, of all of the Saints that passed through ancient Cornwall, many giving their names to the communities that we live in, it is St Piran who has come to symbolise all things Cornish.  Legend tells of how Piran was cast out of Ireland, tied to a millstone.  However, as a Godly man, the millstone floated and he landed on one of our premier surfing beaches.  Some recent interpretations say that he surfed the millstone into the beach, thus bringing the sport to Cornwall – alongside discovering the tin which we mined for millennia and creating our distinctive black and white flag.

The festivities

Every 5th March we remember St Piran through a whole range of cultural festivities.  We eat our traditional foods (including pasties and scones served with jam and cream), we sing songs, tell stories, share local crafts, and maybe even do a little bit of dancing!  Mebyon Kernow and our members are at the forefront of organising St Piran’s day activities alongside many other community organisations, and this year we also have a history workshop, where some of our member historians will talk about how Cornwall has become the place that we know and love today.

On the first Sunday in March, we gather in the place where St Piran built his oratory, and first shared his message with Cornish people.  This is always a lively, joyful celebration, walking through the dunes, telling stories, and of course, singing.  It’s also a wonderful place to catch up with old friends and share our own yarns (stories).

For us in Mebyon Kernow, it’s vital to help to ensure that our unique culture is kept alive, relevant and highly visible.  It provides a space where we can talk to our children about our heritage, and share our identity with newcomers to Cornwall.  It’s also an opportunity for a “jolly good knees up” (party) and remember how proud we are to be Cornish.

Gool Perran Lowen! (Happy St Piran’s Day!)

Kernow Bys Vykken! (Cornwall For Ever!)