The annual Pirantide celebrations kick off this weekend with the first of a series of events across the Duchy of Cornwall and around the world, marking the birthday of Cornwall’s favourite national saint.
Not yet a UK government approved national Cornish holiday, March 5 is yet the big day, when parades are due to take place in towns across Cornwall to commemorate the life and work of the 5th century holy man credited with floating across the Irish Sea on a millstone, befriending hedghogs, liking a drop, and discovering tin (among other things such as turning areas of then largely pagan Cornwall, Christian).
Across the world the distinctive Cornish national flag of St Piran’s cross, white on a black background, will fly on flagpoles, buildings, cars, lapels etc.
In the run-up to March 5, the figure of St Piran will be welcomed ashore at Perranporth Beach, where the saint is said to have arrived in Cornwall from Ireland. The welcoming ceremony, at 6pm this Friday, will be followed by a procession of mannequins through the village to the Memorial Hall for music and refreshments.
For the past dozen or so years, a promenade play has been staged on the Sunday closest to St Piran’s Day on the vast dunes above Perranporth. This year a new play has been written by well-known clay country novelist, poet, dramatist and historian Alan Kent.
Organised by St Piran Trust and members of the Perranzabuloe community, the production will take the form of a costumed pageant. Setting out from the entrance to Gear Sands, around a thousand “pilgrims” are expected to make their way to the saint’s oratory and an ancient granite cross. Accompanied by musicians and singers, the walkers – some with dogs, a few on horseback – fly the black and white cross of Cornwall and carry bunches of daffodils.
The procession begins at 2pm from Haven Holiday Park, which will again provide free parking for hundreds of cars.
Directed by Jason Squibb, Bewnans Peran will feature the talents of local performers, singers, musicians, Stamp And Go shanty group and Redyouth dancers. This year’s production has been dedicated to St Piran Trust chairman, Perran Penrose, who died recently.
Refreshments will be available in the Haven bar afterwards, when there will also be a display of material about the forthcoming dig at St Piran’s Oratory.
Eileen Carter of St Piran Trust said the whole team behind the play was grateful for Haven’s continued upport and hospitality.
“St Piran Trust is a non-profit charity working for the preservation and promotion of the saint and his monuments on Gear Sands and Perran Round,” she said. “Everyone is welcome to come along on Sunday and we hope even more people will join us this year for a day of entertainment on the dunes. There is no cost and all are very welcome.”
Bewnans Peran is on Sunday March 3 at 2pm, starting from Haven Holiday Park at Perranporth. Admission free.
Let us remember, celebrate, teach the children well, and drink a toast to St Piran, and the Cornish and our nation!
Here is a message from the Grand Bard for the celebrations.
A message from the Grand Bard of Kernow, Maureen Fuller, Steren Mor,Bardh Meur Kernow, to mark St. Piran’s Day, the Patron Saint of Cornwall, 5th March 2013
Dhe Gernowyon yn pub le, Dy’ Goel Sen Piran da dhywgh-hwi oll!
To Cornish people everywhere, a Happy Pirantide to you all!
This year we have had many more requests than ever for the Grand Bard to support various activities, celebrating St. Piran throughout Kernow. This is wonderful news and good to see the events multiplying and being spread out over several days, so that I can travel the full length of Kernow. Even so, some events clash and we have sent out the past Grand Bards and the deputy Grand Bard to help and join in with these extra events. If we carry on growing, then St. Piran’s Day MUST become a public holiday, a chance for everyone to celebrate!
We are lucky to have a saint who enjoyed feasting, so celebrating his life by having a good time seems appropriate and enjoyable. He was also a man of the land, living amongst the dunes, collecting firewood for the fire that ended up smelting tin and living on fish from the sea. It is also said he decorated his cell with crystals that he found whilst out walking in our historic landscape.
But most importantly, St. Piran was a man who had values. He stuck to what he believed to be right and was prepared to die for his beliefs. He connected well with everyone, earning their respect. He was courteous, self-effacing, witty, inventive and thoughtful for other people, community minded. In these respects, he is a good role model for Cornish children.
Life has always been hard for Cornish people; they are survivors and the difficulties have formed their characters. Cornish scientists, inventors and others have made their mark not only on Cornwall, but the world. Men like Humphry Davy and Richard Trevithick have changed people’s lives for the good. Materially, Cornish people had little in life, but the most important thing they had was their creativity, the will to improve their lot in life.
In these present times of austerity, it is important that we keep our confidence up, so celebrating St. Piran’s Day is incredibly important. We will survive through our creativity, by using what is within us and costs nothing. We will invent and create NEW ways of survival , which is what we have ALWAYS done and history proves it WORKS.
In the latest Census, Cornish people have shown themselves to be present all over the UK and more school children identified themselves as Cornish in this year’s PLASC survey, Junior section. This augurs well.
We also remember today all those people throughout the world who had to leave Kernow to earn a crust of bread and took their skills worldwide. Their descendants remain in the Diaspora, but their homes will be forever Cornish. To you all, wherever you live, “Be Proud to be Cornish; stand up and be counted.”
I wish you all a very Happy St.Pirantide, enjoy all these events happening throughout Kernow and in the Diaspora, in memory of our much loved saint. Make sure our children know about St.Piran and how we celebrate his life every year and that Kernow is a unique and special place, one that we cherish and must keep safe for future generations, the inheritors of our Earth.
Dy’Goel Sen Peran Da dhywgh-hwi oll arta, Kernow bys vykken.
OTHER EVENTS THIS WEEK IN CORNWALL and nearby
ALPHINGTON near EXETER
St Michael & All Angels Church: Cello Pilgrimage with Orlando Jopling who will give a cello recital. Sunday 6pm.
Queens Theatre: Kenton Cool, Tuesday 7.45pm; Emma Johnson, clarinet, Wed 7.30pm; Don Pasquale Pre performance talk Sat 8.15 in Gallery Cafe; Don Pasquale Sat 7.30pm.
Roundswell Community Centre: Barnstaple Keyboard and Light Music Club present Daniel Watt from Northampton. Tuesday 7.45pm. Admission £5.
Parkhouse Centre: Old Cornwall Society ‘The Historic Buildings of Bude & Stratton” with Bridget Gillard followed by AGM. All welcome. Non-members £1.50. Monday 7.30pm.
Village Hall: Bingo, Monday 7.30pm.
Methodist Church: Ploughman’s and Sweet, Christian Aid Lent Lunch. Friday 12.30pm.
Wheal Jane Room, Chacewater Village hall: AGM for Chacewater Branch of Cancer Research UK. Tuesday 7.30pm.
31 High Street: Newton St Cyres Art Group Exhibition. Weekdays 9.30am-5pm. Until March 29.
Meadowbrook Community Centre: Mac Bailey and Desperado. Doors open Saturday 6.30pm with music 8pm until 11.15pm.
The Great Hall: Dartington Community Choir two day workshop. Sat-Sun 9.30am-5.30pm.
The Old Craft Ed Building, Schumacher College: Clay to Wheel, talk about the significance of craft with live demonstrations. Thursday 8pm.
Dartington: The Wilderness Club presents The Saturday Club for Kids aged 8-12 years. Friday 10am-1pm.
Methodist Church: Women’s World Day of Prayer Service. Prepared by the women of France. Friday 2.30pm.
The Great Hall, Exeter University: Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. Thurs 7.30pm.
Meeting Room, Royal Albert Museum: Coco Chanel evening lecture, Wed 6.30pm. £5.
Withycombe Methodist Church Hall: Exmouth Folk Dance Club callers evening. Thursday 8pm-10pm.
Princess Pavilion (The Garden Room): Owdoyado Theatre About a Bench. Friday 8pm; Marcus Brigstocke, comedian. Sat 7.30pm for 8pm; Derek Acorah spiritualist medium. Sun 7.30pm.
Merlin Theatre: Luke Wright presents: Your New Favourite Poet Expect thigh-slapping acerbic wordplay and bawdy bar room ballads. Friday 7.45pm.
The Royal Standard: Euchre Drive. Monday 8pm.
Plough Arts Centre: Steve Knightley, Thurs 8pm; Clare Teal is back. Sat 8pm; School’s Exhibition – A Celebration of Young Artists from Friday until March 21.
Village Hall: Gweek Pantoloons present Aladdin.Tickets £5 adults, £2.50 U14s from Gweek Inn or Premier Shop or 01326221652. Fri-Sat 7pm, matinee Sat 2pm.
The Landmark: The Moscow State Circus. Thurs 5pm and 8pm; Wife After Death, Fri, Sat 7.30pm.
Harbour House: Primary Colours Exhibition. 10am-5pm (closed Sundays). Until March 6.
Eagle House Hotel: Launceston Electronic Organ Club present Richard Monks from Williton, Somerset. Tuesday 7.30pm. Wheelchair access available.
Methodist Church: A Singing Day with the East Cornwall Bach Choir, working on the Durufle Requiem during the day with a public performance on Saturday at 7pm.
Village Hall: A Sensory Evening with Rachel Lambert, slideshow etc. Non members £1.50. Monday 7.30pm.
Village hall: Okehampton Sequence Dance Club. £1.50 per person. Beginners welcome. Wed 8pm-10.30pm.
Shilstone House: One and a half hour guided tour of the house and its grounds, Tuesday 2pm conducted by Devon Rural Archive. Tour followed by afternoon tea. Tickets £12. 01548 830832 to book.
Fistral Beach Hotel: Newquay Pentire Probus Club with speaker Prof Gareth Party. New members welcome. Wednesday. 01637 878990.
The Gott Hall, Par Green: Prize bingo. Raffle and homemade super. Facilities for those in wheelchairs. Visitors welcome. Thurs 7.30pm.
Par St Mary Methodist Church: Beetle Drive. Saturday 7pm.
Church Hall: Parents and Toddlers Group Active Tots. Monday 9.30am-11am. Admission free.
Royal William Yard: Good Food Market. Sunday 10am-3pm.
The RBL Club, Crownhill: Plymouth Jazz Club with The Martin Dale Quartet with guest Roger Marks. Sun
Pavilions: Anton and Erin Go to Hollywood. Wednesday.
Stoke Damerel Parish Centre: Stoke Damerel Church are holding a Quiz Night. Tickets £2.50 . Proceeds for Raising the Roof fund. Tuesday 7pm.
Plympton Library: Alzheimer’s Society will host monthly memory corner. Monday between 11am and 2pm.
Theatre Royal: Driving Miss Daisy. Until March 2.
Drum Theatre: My Perfect Mind. Until March 2.
Stoke Library, Devonport: Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice 200th anniversary display. Library opening times.
Public Hall: Porthleven Old Cornwall Society presents The Helston Railway, Tuesday 2.30pm.
Village Hall: Whist Drive. Tuesday 7.30pm.
Burrington Community Centre: Transition Theatre Company Adventures of Mr Toad, a music in two acts. Saturday 3pm.Tickets Adults £8.50, chd £5.
Parish Church: Isca Ensemble, conductor Roger Hendy. Sat 7.30pm.
The Quaker Meeting House: Cruse Bereavement Care Meeting of St Austell Friendship Group. Ring Joan 01726 74155 before attending group for the first time. Saturday 6.30pm.
Wheal Martyn: China Clay Museum, country park and walks etc. Daily 10am-5pm; Coffee and cake morning Thursday 10.30am.
Village Hall: Farmers Market. Saturday 9.30am-12.30pm.
St Ives Theatre: The Big Nights In, Saturday 7.30pm.
Methodist Chapel: Women’s World Day of Prayer. Friday 11am; Jumble sale for Cornwall Hospice Care, Saturday from 11am.
Parish Church: Coffee Morning, Saturday 10am-12noon.
The Wharf: Music – The Mods Sixties Party Saturday 8pm.
Town Hall: Tavistock Holistic health & Spiritual Day. Saturday 10am-4pm.
Methodist Schoolroom: Tintagel Churches Together Lent Lunch for Christian Aid and CAFOD, Wednesday 12-1.30pm.
Princess Theatre: The Rise and Fall of Little Voice. daily 7.30pm, Wed and Sat matinees 2.30pm. Until March 2; Moscow State Circus, Sunday 5pm.
The Babbacombe Theatre: Spellbound, Tuesdays and Wednesdays 8.15pm.
Civic Hall: Totnes Folk Club Folk Dance with Sarah Bazeley and the music of The Pixie Band. Admission £6, members £5.50. All welcome. Saturday 7.30pm-11pm.
Hall for Cornwall: Country Market. Tuesday 9.15-3pm.
Hall for Cornwall: Sally Morgan on he Road, Mon 7.30; Joe Brown, Tues 7.30pm; That’ll Be the Day, Wed 7.30pm; Yamato – The Drummers of Japan, Thurs 8pm; Toddlertango, Assembly Room, Fri 10.15 and 11.15pm; Moscow State Circus, Fri, Saturday 7.30pm, also Sat 2.30pm; Duos and solos for Flute and Cello, Sat 7.30pm.