Painting the town black & white
PUBLISHED: 09:00 18 March 2014
Redruth is at the centre of the St Piran's day celebrations for the fourth year. Ellis Taylor discovers what we can expect from the town painting itself black and white to mark Cornwall's patron saint
In many areas of the country heritage and tradition is slowly disappearing, but the people of Redruth are proving the exception as they host the largest St Piran’s day celebrations for another year.
Following the success of the past years, local people in the small town have pulled together once again to create a lively and fun day for all the family on 1 March. The day, which celebrates the patron saint of Cornwall and is traditionally celebrated on 5 March, will see Redruth filled with the Cornish flag alongside a black and white colour theme.
More people than ever are expected to attend the celebrations and Redruth will be attracting a great deal of attention.
“This is our fourth St Piran’s Festival and each year the buzz in the town just gets bigger and bigger,” says Councillor Ian Thomas, chairman of Redruth’s St Piran Working Group. “The incredible number of children, locals and visitors who come to town to join in on our celebrations, to eat, drink, play and be merry, would bring a smile to anyone’s face.”
Legend says that St Piran came to Cornwall after being thrown off a cliff in Ireland in the sixth century. He then arrived at Perranporth where he built a chapel in the sand dunes. St Piran then showed locals how to extract tin, and helped create the tin mining industry for which Cornwall became famous for.
The streets will be brought to life with a huge variety of events as the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site puts itself in the centre of the county’s celebrations, marketing itself as the biggest St Piran’s day celebrations in the world.
A new addition of daffodil displays, partly a nod to the Welsh celebration of St David’s day on 1 March, will bring colour to the town as live music fills the air. A midday procession will take place through the streets, and will include ‘St Piran’ himself, local schoolchildren, Gorsedh representatives, and three Cornish musical elements provided by Bagas Crowd, Breton Piper Merv Davey and Bagas Degol. Local choirs will lead the singing of Trelawney by the town clock, this will then be followed by performances at Miner’s Statue and St Rumon’s Gardens.
It is clear that the spirit and traditions of the county are at the heart of this day in Redruth, and other areas of the county. The use of local groups, musicians and resources reflect the Cornwall pride held by members of the community.
The History of St Piran’s Day
Each year on 5 March, St Piran’s day is celebrated throughout Cornwall. St Piran is the patron saint of the county and of Tinners.
According to legend he was born in Ireland in the sixth century. St Piran was reportedly renowned for his miraculous powers, but this scared some kings who decided to put a millstone around his neck and throw St Piran off of an Irish cliff and into the sea.
After enduring a terrible storm, he then floated on this millstone and landed on Perranporth beach, which is named after him, and built a chapel in the sand dunes. Word began to spread about his teachings and his popularity grew.
One day, he noticed a silver metal flowing out from the black stone of his heath. He then taught locals how to extract the metal which was tin.
To remember the industry and skill St Piran brought to the county, tinning and mining activities are planed at Fore Street, and a St Piran and tinning exhibition in Murdoch House will also be taking place.
Cornwall-related exhibitions and craft activities will be happening in the Cornwall Centre. Street entertainment, which includes a children’s performer and Swamp Circus, will bring a lively atmosphere to Redruth. R2 Events and Redruth Radio will provide great sounds in the evening at The Venue, including an open mic run by Riff Evans.
There will also be live music at Tatie Court from 1pm, including performances from Stamp & Go, Samba Celtica, Thrawed Together, and the Redruth Town Band.
St Rumon’s Club is the place to be after dark as they will be holding a real ale fest including homemade pasties and sausage fayre. Ska band Rudis Message will also be performing in the evening.
"More people than ever will attend the celebrations"
“What better way to celebrate the Patron Saint of Tinners than to have one of the biggest festivals here in Redruth - the Heart of Cornwall and Mining Capital of the World,” adds Councillor Ian Thomas. “We are delighted that this special day has become one of our major and annual events, one that we believe should be celebrated in every town, village and hamlet across the County...Dy’gol Sen Pyran Lowen!”
It is safe to say that the day will be packed with all things Cornish. Redruth is set to come to life with all forms of entertainment as well as a splash of history and education - and more importantly a great time for all who attend.
For more information on events, heritage and activities in Redruth see visitredruth.co.uk and download the free Visit Redruth app.