Tuesday, March 03, 2009

March 5th: St. Piran

I had relatives in Cornwall when I was a child, and fell in love with this beautiful, mysterious, Celtic county in the far south-west of England. As March 5th is the feast day of St. Piran, the patron of Cornwall, here are a few ideas for celebrating St. Piran and all things Cornish:

Who Was St. Piran?
Piran's origins are obscure, but it is known that he was born in Ireland and died around 480. He built a small oratory at Perran Beach (near Perranporth) where he first landed in Cornwall. It is likely that he was either a follower of the Irish saint, Kieran of Saighir, or maybe Kieran himself. Read about him at the Patron Saints Index or the St. Piran Trust. St. Piran's oratory was a place of pilgrimage throughout the middle ages, although a second church was built further inland when attempts to stop the first being smothered in sand were abandoned. Today the St. Piran Trust is trying to raise funds to excavate the sites of both the Oratory and the Old Church. The Oratory is believed to be one of the oldest surviving Christian buildings in Britain.

Cornish pasties ... if you can't get to Cornwall or a good pasty shop to buy the real thing, you can make your own. I haven't made them for years, but I think I will try this year. My recipe is much like this one.

Cornish splits with strawberry jam and clotted cream.

Say the Lord's Prayer in Cornish
(If you would like to hear some Cornish, listen to the BBC News in Cornish here)

Cornwall colouring page

Daffodils are associated with St. Piran's Day celebrations, so any daffodil craft such as this handprint daffodil would be appropriate.

The Cornish flag is the cross of St. Piran - a white cross on a black background. Legend has it that St. Piran lit a fire on his black hearthstone. Tin ore within the stone was smelted and rose to the top in the form of a white cross. Make or colour some Cornish flags of your own.

From black Cornish rock he built his hearth

A blaze of fire rose hot and bright
And from the fire a molten river
Pure metal was made, of splendid white.

Explore Cornwall
Cornwall in Focus has information about all aspects of Cornwall, and an extensive photo gallery.

You can find lots of pictures to use as wallpaper here


Fe said...


Thanks for all these! I'll pass them on to my dad:-)

My father's father came from Cornwall (_always_ Cornwall, never the UK!)

A few years ago I started trying to learn Kernewek with my father—it didn't stick, but it's really interesting to hear:-)

Missus Wookie said...

Thanks for the links - I'll send them to my Piran :)

Karen E. said...

Fascinating stuff! Thank you!