St Piran’s Day: 10 fascinating facts about the annual Cornish day
By Plymouth Herald | Posted: March 04, 2016
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Who the heck was St Piran and why was he so special?
This Saturday, March 5, is the day all Cornish people across the globe will come together to celebrate their favourite saint – St Piran.
It is a focal date in the calendar, a day when Cornwall’s unique place in the world – her achievements, distinctiveness and identity – are to the fore.
But who the heck was St Piran and why was he so special?
1. St Piran is the patron saint of tin-miners and is generally regarded as the national saint of Cornwall.
2. According to legend St Piran was born in Ireland in the 5th century. After studying the scriptures in Rome he returned and was made a Bishop.
3. In Ireland he was said to have performed many miracles, such as raising from the dead soldiers slain in battle. But the Kings of Ireland at the time were not impressed and threw him into the sea.
4. He had a millstone around his neck but miraculously the stormy sea became calm and he floated across the water to Perran Beach in Perranporth.
5. It was here that he built a small chapel among the sand dunes. His first disciples are said to have been a badger, a fox and a bear. Eventually people would come from miles around to hear him preach.
6. One day, a black stone on his fire leaked a white liquid. St Piran had discovered tin. The Cornish Flag (white cross on a black background) represents white tin flowing from the black rock, or good overcoming evil.
7. St Piran is believed to have lived for 200 years. He was fond of a drink and met his end falling down a well. No date of his death was recorded.
8. During the late-19th century, modern-day celebrations were started by Celtic revivalists to provide people with a national day of celebration.
9. St Piran’s Day is the national day of the people of Cornwall. Each year, St Piran’s story is retold in a drama on the dunes in Perranporth on the Sunday nearest to March 5.
10. Celebrations on St Piran’s Day involve lots and lots of alcohol and gave rise to the expression "drunk as a Perraner".