St Piran’s Day 2022: how to say ‘Happy St Piran’s Day’ in Cornish, what is the flag - and why is it celebrated?

St Piran’s Day is a special day in Cornwall with celebrations taking place every year around the county on 5 March

Celebrations are held every year in Cornwall on 5 March to celebrate the Cornish patron saint, St. Piran.

This year people will be out in full force gathering for events after celebrations were held virtually in 2021 due to the Covid lockdown.

Processions, performances and workshops are held countywide and a new stain glass window to be revealed.

Here’s everything you need to know about St Piran’s Day - from how to say ‘Happy St Piran’s Day’ in Cornish, why it is celebrated, what the flag is and the events being held this year.

What is St Piran’s Day?

The national day of Cornwall is named after one of three of the patron saints of the county, St Piran.

The other two patron saints are St Michael and St Petroc.

St Piran is the patron saint of tin miners, with legend saying that he was a 6th century abbot in Ireland where he performed miracles such as raising soldiers from the dead who had died in battle.

But a group of local kings started to grow very wary of his powers so they flung him into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck.

The legend says St Piran floated over to Perranporth beach on the north coast of Cornwall and built a small chapel in the sand dunes where people travelled to hear him preach.

This is now known as St Piran’s Oratory or the "lost church" - which is now the setting of an annual march and performance on the Sunday closest to 5 March.

According to folklore St Piran lived for 200 years, meeting his death when he fell down a well drunk.

How did the national day begin?

St Piran’s Day began as a traditional holiday for tin miners of Cornwall.

The festival has been around since the 1800s, when miners drank and ate in the week leading up to the holiday, which was known as “Perrantide”.

That’s how the 19th century phrase “drunk as a perraner” came about.

Celtic Revivalists in the 20th century succeeded in making the date a national day.

By the 1950s it became celebrated all over the county in towns like St Ives, Falmouth and Bodmin.

It is even celebrated in Grass Valley in California to honour the Cornish miners who worked in the area from the mid-19th century onwards.

Despite being a national day in Cornwall, the government has never approved requests to make 5 March an official bank holiday in the Cornish county.

However, many towns still give a day off to its workers and students.

How do you say ‘Happy St Piran’s Day’ in Cornish?

“Happy St Piran’s Day” in Cornish is “Gool Peran Lowen” - the traditional way to greet someone on St Piran’s Day.

The motto of Cornwall, “onen hag oll” which means ‘One and all’ in English, is also said a lot on the national day.

What is the St Piran’s flag?

Saint Piran’s flag is the flag of Cornwall - a white cross on a black background.

It is said that St Piran discovered molten tin running from a hearthstone after he lit a fire which is why the Cornish flag is what it is today.

The flag represents the white tin flowing from the black rock.

St Piran’s flag is also said to symbolise the light of truth shining through the darkness.

How is the day usually celebrated?

St Piran’s Day makes for a huge annual celebration with traditional events and activities including parades, music, dancing, fairground rides and rugby matches.

Most Cornish towns usually celebrate with a Furry dance - a processional dance performed four-abreast and often by children.

Then, at 9pm on the dot on 5 March, revellers in pubs across Cornwall break into the Trelawny Shout, one big singalong.

They traditionally sing the Cornish anthem, the Song of the Western Men, and raise money for the Cornwall Community Foundation.

Hundreds of people also join the annual walk across Perran Sands on the Sunday closest to St Piran’s Day.

What are the celebrations in 2022?

A range of celebrations are planned in Redruth for Saturday, including live music, stalls and creative workshops.

The usual parade will not go ahead with organisers saying it is partly down to Covid restrictions still being in place at the time of planning. However, St Austell’s parade is due to go ahead with Cornish music and stalls.

A new stained glass window will be unveiled at Cornwall archive centre Kresen Kernow.

The annual Trelawny Shout is planned for 9pm on Saturday, where people meet in dozens of pubs and community venues to sing the Cornish anthem.

Truro Diocese announced its annual Cross of St Piran Awards will return to St Piran’s Church in Perranzabuloe for the first time since 2020.

The awards recognise 18 people for their service and dedication to their churches and communities.

The St Piran procession will take place at Perran Sands on Sunday 6 March from 2pm.

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