An increasingly important part of the Cornish year
ST Piran's Day ( March 5) is an increasingly important part of the Cornish year, when thousands of people mark their Cornishness in the name of their national saint.
This year's celebrations will start on Friday ( March 1) at 6pm, when a giant model of St Piran will be brought ashore on Perranporth beach. He will be welcomed by local children dressed as tinners and balmaidens, and paraded through Perranporth to the memorial hall for a ceilidh and refreshments.
And on Sunday (March 3), more than 1,000 people will join together on the dunes near Perranporth to enjoy the traditional play about St Piran and to take part in the procession to the site of St Piran's Oratory and the ruins of the later medieval church. This year, there is a new play, written by a local author and playwright which is described as "unique, with many twists" and a "real spectacle".
It really is an event not to be missed, and I cannot recommend it too highly. Why not join the crowd at Perran Sands Holiday Park on Sunday at 1.30pm for a 2pm start?
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The St Piran's Day parade in Truro has also been a firm fixture for decades, involving a number of local schools, community groups and local businesses. And it particularly heartens me, as a supporter of all aspects of Cornish identity, to see the growing number of events that are now scheduled to mark St Piran's Day.
As well as the established parades in towns such as Bodmin, Bude, Launceston and Penzance, it is exciting to see the host of concerts, dances and feasts taking place, and to know that there will be numerous activities in our local schools.
All in all, it is great to see this growing confidence in Cornwall and its identity.
But I would like to repeat the following key message that Mebyon Kernow makes around every St Piran's Day.
The promotion of Cornish distinctiveness is not something that should be restricted to doing once a year in March.
Cornwall has a powerful national identity and a wonderful heritage. This includes the Cornish language, music, dance, sport and a range of traditions.
All of these are vitally important to our sense of place and the very wellbeing of our local communities.
And each and every day, we should be doing all in our power to promote and enhance our identity and heritage.