March 5: St. Piran’s Day

Happy St. Piran’s Day. This is a huge holiday in Cornwall, England, which seems to be a huge celebration of Cornish culture, similar to how St. Patrick’s Day is a huge celebration of Irish culture.

St. Piran, stained glass in Truro Cathedral

There’s very little known for sure about St. Piran, who lived sometime around the 6th century, but here are a few traditional stories. At one point, heathens tied Piran to a mill stone and through him into the sea. The water became calm and Piran floated across the water from Ireland to Cornwall.

The other main story is that Saint Piran rediscovered how to smelt tin, a technique that had been lost over the ages. He accidentally smelted a piece of tin, which made the form of a white cross on black stone. That’s why the Cornish flag is a white cross on a black field.

St. Piran's Day celebration

Today this holiday is primarily celebrated with parades, songs, and plays of the saint’s life. Check out this BBC page for more info and pictures of St. Piran’s Day celebrations.

Since Cornwall and St. Piran’s Day are so closely associated with mining (specifically, mining tin), today’s verse is from Job:

“Mortals put an end to the darkness;
they search out the farthest recesses
for ore in the blackest darkness.
Far from human dwellings they cut a shaft,
in places untouched by human feet;
far from other people they dangle and sway.”

Job 28:3-4

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