ST PIRAN’S DAY 2024 TAKES PLACE ACROSS CORNWALL ON TUESDAY 5 MARCH 2024, PLUS ON THE WEEKEND BEFORE. HERE ARE OUR RECOMMENDATIONS FOR WHERE TO CELEBRATE ST PIRAN’S DAY IN CORNWALL IN 2024, PLUS HISTORY…
The St Piran’s Day 2024 celebrations are set to be monumental. This is such an important part of Cornwall’s culture, history and identity, so expect a cream-and-jam-packed day of festivities across the Duchy on Tuesday 5 March 2024. We’ll waste no time getting into the nitty gritty: where to go to celebrate St Pirans Day 2024…
Newquay: The 2024 Newquay St Piran’s Festival doesn’t just happen on Tuesday 5 March 2024. There are also events, starting with a ‘pre-St Piran’s festival with local schools’ from 6.30pm on Friday 23 February 2024 at the Hotel Victoria in East Street. Then there’s a bilingual church service at St Michael’s Church in St Michael’s Road from 10.30am on Sunday 3 March 2024 followed by a ‘St Piran’s concert’ from 7.15pm on Monday 4 March 2024 in the Steam Bar at the Great Western Hotel in Cliff Road, featuring fab groups like Olla an Gwella, True Foxes and The Stowes.
The annual parade moves off from Central Square at 4pm on Tuesday 5 March 2024. It moves through the town and finishes later at the Hotel Victoria, where there’ll be an awesome ceilidh with all sorts of traditional singing and dancing. The festival all comes to a close at 9pm with the traditional ‘Trelawny shout’ at Newquay Rowing Club in South Quay Hill, as well as at other spots around town too. Expect a great ‘celebration of culture, heritage and environment in and around the Newquay coastline at St Piran’s. Discover all the details on the Newquay St Piran’s Day festivities at the dedicated local website: here.
Truro: The Truro Old Cornwall Society is organising the St Piran’s Day celebrations in Truro on Tuesday 5 March 2024. The 2024 Truro St Piran’s Festival takes over the city throughout the day, with the famous 2024 Truro St Piran’s Parade setting off at 1pm from Waterfall Gardens on St George’s Road and ending later at High Cross with speeches and songs. Truro High Prep School and St Mary’s C of E School will also be involved as local artist Tony Minnion visits thew youngsters to make banners which ‘will celebrate their school community’. Those banners will be unveiled at the big parade. Plus, on Saturday 2 March 2024, don’t miss the Truro St Piran’s Market and Pasty Making Competition 2024 between 9am and 4pm in Lemon Quay. Read all about that: here. And The Oggymen perform a ‘A Cornish Celebration’ at the Hall for Cornwall from 7.30pm on the Tuesday for St Piran’s Day. Check out the Hall for Cornwall’s website for details.
St Austell: A community event to celebrate St Pirantide 2024 and ‘all things Cornish’ takes place in St Austell on Saturday 2 March 2024. This 2024 St Austell St Piran’s Day Festival runs from 10am to 3pm and includes events like a craft fair in Vicarage Place and another craft fair with music at Market House in Market Street, which is also home to Cornish language sessions for the community during the day. ‘Kres (‘peace’ in English) Stories and Sounds of the Clay Country’ is also held at Market House between 11am and 1pm. As for the annual parade, this moves off from Aylmer Square at 1.30pm. It will snake through the town and will finish with speeches and a ‘Trelawny shout’ when it gets back to Aylmer Square later. For more details on these events, click: here.
Penzance: At Penzance‘s St John’s Hall in Alverton Street, a special ‘Cornish concert’ is to begin at 7pm on Monday 4 March 2024 as part of the Penzance St Piran’s Day Festival 2024. Previously, St Piran’s School Choir has been in full voice alongside the Penzance Guizers, so expect equally talented outfits singing this year. Then the St Piran Furry Dance begins at 10.15am at the summit of Causewayhead the following day. Local school children are traditionally the stars of the dance alongside the Mayor of Penzance and the Town Crier. Find out more details: here.
Redruth: Drumroll… for the first time in three years, Redruth‘s St Piran’s Festival Parade hit the streets in 2023. And it’s back for 2024! The organisers say that their festival ‘celebrates all things Cornish’ and includes market stalls, fresh foods, entertainment and music across the town between 10am and 3pm on Saturday 2 March 2024. Look out for the annual parade too, as well as the ‘Trelawny shout’ at the end. Last year, the parade set off from Lemins Court and headed up Fore Street before finishing back at Lemins Court. The Redruth Town Band led the parade alongside Penkevyll the Oss. Get involved in 2024. For more details, check out: here.
Perranporth: The town of Perranporth is often seen as the heart of all the celebrations. At 2pm on Sunday 3 March 2024, meet at Piran Point gate, which is at the northwest end of Haven Perran Sands holiday park (itself just to the north of Perranporth), before marching out across Perranporth Beach’s Penhale Sands section with hundreds of people dressed in white, gold and black. The procession reaches St Piran’s Cross next to the ancient St Piran’s Oratory shortly afterwards.
Also look out for ‘St Piran’s relics’ in the Perranporth march and enjoy a blessing in this visually moving St Piran’s ceremony. If you’re parking, get there for 1pm and pop the car in the Perran Sands holiday park overflow car parks (do expect a small parking charge). Also look out for Tristan Ball, who is walking the 15 miles from Penryn to Perranporth to ‘celebrate the life of St Piran’ with some wild camping along the way on Saturday night. He will join the procession at 2pm.
Bude: St Piran’s Day 2024 in Bude is a lively event. The parade, which begins at Bude Surf Life Saving Club in Crooklets Road and heads out to Summerleaze Beach and back, begins at 5pm on Tuesday 25 March 2024. There’s a piper leading the procession and then it’s back to the club for tea and biscuits. The Bude Barrell Morris Dancers entertain the crowds at the club too. The ‘Trelawny Shout’ will take place at the club at 9pm with beers, pasties and a ‘Cornish sing-a-long’ beforehand.
Penryn: On Sunday 3 March 2024 at 2.45pm in Penryn, the annual parade heads off from the Memorial Gardens in Quay Hill and reaches the Town Hall at 3pm, where there’s a traditional ‘Trelawny Shout’. From 3.15pm there’s entertainment and Cornish tea at Penryn Temperance Hall in Lower Market Street.
Falmouth: The 2024 Falmouth St Piran’s Festival Parade begins at 10am on Tuesday 5 March 2024 at The Moor in Falmouth. It then snakes its way along Webber Street, Market Strand, Market Street and Church Street before finishing at King Charles Church, where there are refreshments and plenty of entertainment to enjoy.
Helston: There’s a fab lantern procession taking place on Saturday 2 March 2024. At 6pm, meet at the Coronation Lake off Porthleven Road and enjoy the evening parade and other festivities until 8pm.
Elsewhere in Cornwall: To be honest, there are so many St Piran’s Day events held in Cornwall that you’re best off calling individual town or parish councils or checking their websites to find out exact details of events, celebrations and parades in each town or even village. We have included as many as we can here but expect many, many other towns, villages and parishes to be organising some great celebrations and parades themselves.
Elsewhere in the world: Cornish communities worldwide are also celebrating St Piran’s Day 2024. Victoria in Australia always puts on a good bash, for example. Toronto in Canada marks it with a good bash and a flag-raising ceremony.
On Tuesday 5 March 2024, the Toronto Cornish Association will raise the Cornish flag outside Toronto City Hall for the 30th time at 10.30am. There will then be a ‘short walk’ to the aptly named Duke of Cornwall pub for refreshments and (hopefully) pasties. In 2023, despite a flash ‘thundersnow’ which had happened overnight and threatened to halt proceedings, the Cornish flag was raised for the 29th time for the whole day at City Hall before a slap-up celebration at a local pub.
Our friends over at the Toronto Cornish Association told us these details and the TCA’s programme planner John Webb says there was a ‘full contingent’ of people at the flagpole after the nation’s COVID-19 restrictions were relaxed. Like all Cornish men and women, a spot of heavy snow never stops St Piran’s celebrations.
If you’re reading this story from out there in Canada, Australia or anywhere, have a good one at St Piran’s Day 2024!
THE LEGEND OF ST PIRAN
Back in the fifth century, an abbot in Ireland found he had acquired some pretty odd powers. His pagan rulers didn’t like this so they wrapped a millstone around his neck and tossed him into stormy waters to drown. Miraculously, however, the sea immediately became calm and the holy man floated safely across the Irish Sea all the way to the beach at Perranzabuloe in Cornwall where, once he was over his ordeal, he set about preaching the gospel.
The abbot quickly called Cornwall his home and his first disciples are said to have been a badger, a fox and a bear. Later in life, he chose a large black rock as a fireplace which, once lit, oozed a white liquid from the stone. He shared his discovery – tin – with the locals and it became the bedrock of Cornwall’s economy for centuries to come.
In a nutshell, that’s the story of Cornwall’s patron saint, St Piran, who is also the patron saint of tinners. We’ll leave it to you to unpack the facts from the legend but whatever the reality, St Piran is forever remembered and adored in Cornwall. Even the county flag is inspired by the holy man as its white cross represents the white tin flowing from the black rock – the black background – and it all signifies good triumphing over evil.
It’s fitting then that St Piran gets his own annual celebration. St Pirans Day, or the Feast of St Piran, is held on 5 March every year across Cornwall as the life and legacy of its colourful patron saint is marked. It’s said that St Piran was a notoriously jolly drunk – indeed the phrase ‘as drunk as a Perraner’ is a nod to his antics – and in the truest spirit of the man himself, the Cornish celebrate his day with a variety of parades that incorporate singing, dancing, dressing up and a jolly good knees up.
There’s a wealth of lively events across the county on the day and also during ‘Perrantide’, which is the Cornish name for the week that leads up to the big day. Expect events like St Piran’s Day afternoon teas being held by groups like the Cornwall Federation of Women’s Institutes or ‘St Piran Special’ gigs in the county. Busy towns like Newquay often have weeks leading up to 5 March to celebrate the big day, including talks, exhibitions, concerts and a massive parade. In fact, most towns across Cornwall host their own parades and events to mark this special day, each with their own local take on proceedings. So, whatever tickles your fancy on St Piran’s Day 2023, get involved and have a great day of celebration. Happy St Piran’s!