Cornwall's national day
St. Piran's Day is the national day of Cornwall, held on 5th March every year. The day is named after one of the patron saints of Cornwall, Saint Piran, who is also the patron saint of tin miners.
St. Piran's Day started as one of the many tinners' holidays observed by the tin miners of Cornwall. Other miners' holidays of a similar nature include Picrous Day and Chewidden Thursday. The miners of Breage and Germoe observed St. Piran's feast day as that of their patron saint until at least 1764.
"St. Piran's Day was said to be a favourite with the tinners who having a tradition that some secrets regarding the manufacture of tin were communicated to their ancestors by that saint, they leave the manufacture to shift for itself for that day, and keep it as a holiday." There is little description of specific traditions associated with this day apart from the consumption of large amounts of alcohol and food during 'Perrantide', the week leading up to 5th March. The day following the St. Piran's Day was known by many as 'Mazey Day', a term which has now been adopted by the revived Golowan festival in Penzance. The phrase 'drunk as a perraner' was used in 19th century Cornwall to describe people who had consumed large quantities of alcohol.
The modern observance of St. Piran's day as a national symbol of the people of Cornwall started in the late 19th and early 20th century when Celtic revivalists sought to provide the people of Cornwall with a national day similar to those observed in other nations. Since the 1950's, the celebration has become increasingly observed and since the start of the 21st century almost every Cornish community holds some sort of celebration to mark the event. Saint Piran's Flag is also seen flying throughout Cornwall on this day. Parades and celebrations take place in a number of towns across the county. A giant Cornish pasty is paraded around the ground of the Cornish Pirates rugby team on St. Piran's Day before it is passed over the goal posts.
In 2006 Cornish MP Dan Rogerson asked the government to make 5th March a public holiday in Cornwall to recognise St. Piran's Day celebrations. More recently there has been a petition for the holiday. Some council workers in Bodmin were granted the holiday in 2006, and from 2009 Penzance Town Council offered its employees a St. Piran's Day Holiday following a campaign by the Celtic League. A total of nine town and city councils across Cornwall have given their staff the day off.
Cornish Calendar Cornish Folklore and Legend Famous Cornish People Cornwall's Patron Saints