What is St Piran’s Day and who was Cornwall’s patron Saint Pyron?

TODAY (March 5th) is Cornwall’s National Day, when the good people of the south west coast commemorate the day of their patron saint.

On this holiday – named after St Pyron – the faithful Cornishians celebrate their beautiful country. But who is St. Pyron and what happens on St. Piran’s Day?

St Piran is the patron saint of Cornwall


St Piran is the patron saint of CornwallSource: Wikipedia

What is St. Piran’s Day?

St Piran’s Day, or Gool Peran if you’re into Cornish, is celebrated on March 5th every year.

In the 19th century it became Cornwall’s national holiday.

But not how St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland and Saint Andrew’s Day in Scotland the day is not a bank holiday.

This is despite repeated calls from MP Dan Rogerson in 2006 for the day to be made a public holiday – so that the vast majority of people must continue to work as usual.

However, there are nine borough councils across Cornwall that give their staff a day off, those happy things.

The day to recognize Cornwall's patron saint, St Piran, is March 5th


The day to recognize Cornwall’s patron saint, St Piran, is March 5thCredit: ALAMY

Who is Cornwall’s Patron Saint, St Pyron?

St. Piran is the patron saint of Cornwall and the tin miners.

He was a 5th-century Cornish abbot, originally from Ireland, and is known for discovering precious metal tin.

According to legend, he was brutally strapped to a millstone by Irish pagans, who then rolled him over a cliff into a stormy sea.

The story goes that the water immediately calmed down and the saint floated safely across the water and landed on the beach in Cornwall.

If the legend is to be believed, his first followers were a badger, a fox and a bear.

St Piran is said to have settled in Cornwall as a hermit, a lifestyle which earned him great respect from others as people traveled from afar to benefit from his wonders.

It is said that he was joined by a number of other Christians and he founded Lanpiran Abbey.

It is also said that he rediscovered tin smelting after the practice was lost when the stone on his fireplace – which of course contained a small amount of tin – melted out the tin and collected at the top in the form of over.

The flag of St. Piran, the white cross on a black background, comes from this legend.

Whatever you do this St Piran's Day, you'd be wrong not to drop by for a crunchy Cornish pie


Whatever you do this St Piran’s Day, you’d be wrong not to drop by for a crunchy Cornish piePhoto credit: Dan Jones


How is St. Piran’s Day celebrated?

There are many different celebrations in the different Cornish communities.

These include parades with Cornish whistlers through Bodmin, shop decorations and Cornish music and poetry in Callington and a festival through the streets of Newquay.

There is also plenty of traditional Cornish dancing, flag raising everywhere and a huge ticketed parade event in Redruth.

Pasties and Cornish Cream Teas are also on offer to celebrate.

If you want to say Happy St Piran’s Day in Cornish, it’s Gool Peran Lowen. What is St Piran’s Day and who was Cornwall’s patron Saint Pyron?

Bobby Allyn

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