Friday, March 5, 2010

Happy St. Piran's Day!

Happy St. Piran's Day, the National Day of Cornwall! St. Piran's Day has been observed since the late 19th/early 20th century as a way for people to celebrate Cornwall, similar to other national celebrations. Saint Piran is the patron saint of tin-miners and was a 6th century abbot and said, believed to be of Irish descent. He is credited with re-discovering tin-smelting when his tin rose out of his black hearthstone and settled on the surface in the form of a white cross, creating the image used today in St. Piran's Flag. The Cornish celebrate the day by marching across the Penhale sand dunes to St. Piran's cross, carrying daffodils to be placed at the cross.

Many Cornish immigrants came to the United States looking for mining work in the 18th and 19th centuries. Some of these settled areas still celebrate St. Piran's Day, such as in Southwest Wisconsin and Grass Valley, California.

The Cornish also settled in Nevada, not surprising due to our mining industries. To celebrate St. Piran's Day in Las Vegas, big kids can try speaking Cornish, completing a mining word search or make a castle. Younger kids can listen to Jack and the Beanstalk, which is set in Cornwall, or try their hand at colouring pages. Make some Cornish pasties or crab soup, and have some puddings or pastries for desert.

Image credits: (
BBC, Wikipedia)

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