News from Celtic Press
The Grand Bard of the Cornish Gorsedh has closed this year’s St Pirantide by calling for the 5th March to be made into a public holiday – a call that the Celtic League has seen growing since the organisation began its campaign over ten years ago.
The Grand Bard said in the annual St Piran statement:
“If we carry on growing, then St Piran’s Day MUST become a public holiday, a chance for everyone to celebrate.”
In 2001, the Celtic League began writing to the various councils in Cornwall calling on them to declare their support for making St Piran’s Day a public holiday on 5th March. As part of the campaign a total of nine town councils across Cornwall, including Cornwall’s only city Council declared 5th March to by a holiday for their staff.
In 2011 the Kernow Branch of the League continued the campaign and set up Cornwall Council’s first electronic petition calling on the Council to vote in favour of making St Piran’s Day (5th March) an annual public holiday in Cornwall and recommending to the UK Government that they do the same. Even though the Council did not vote to make St Piran’s day a public holiday, they did recommend to the UK Government that one of the existing bank holidays be changed for 5th March.
Both Scotland and the north of Ireland have voted to make their national saint days – Andrew (30th November) and Patrick (17th March) respectively – public holidays.
The following statement was issued by the Grand Bard, Steren Mor (Maureen Fuller):
“To mark St. Piran’s Day, the Patron Saint of Cornwall, 5th March 2013
Dhe Gernowyon yn pub le, Dy’ Goel Sen Piran da dhywgh-hwi oll!
To Cornish people everywhere, a Happy Pirantide to you all!
This year we have had many more requests than ever for the Grand Bard to support various activities, celebrating St. Piran throughout Kernow. This is wonderful news and good to see the events multiplying and being spread out over several days, so that I can travel the full length of Kernow. Even so, some events clash and we have sent out the past Grand Bards and the deputy Grand Bard to help and join in with these extra events. If we carry on growing, then St. Piran’s Day MUST become a public holiday, a chance for everyone to celebrate!
We are lucky to have a saint who enjoyed feasting, so celebrating his life by having a good time seems appropriate and enjoyable. He was also a man of the land, living amongst the dunes, collecting firewood for the fire that ended up smelting tin and living on fish from the sea. It is also said he decorated his cell with crystals that he found whilst out walking in our historic landscape.
But most importantly, St. Piran was a man who had values. He stuck to what he believed to be right and was prepared to die for his beliefs. He connected well with everyone, earning their respect. He was courteous, self-effacing, witty, inventive and thoughtful for other people, community minded. In these respects, he is a good role model for Cornish children.
Life has always been hard for Cornish people; they are survivors and the difficulties have formed their characters. Cornish scientists, inventors and others have made their mark not only on Cornwall, but the world. Men like Humphry Davy and Richard Trevithick have changed people’s lives for the good. Materially, Cornish people had little in life, but the most important thing they had was their creativity, the will to improve their lot in life.
In these present times of austerity, it is important that we keep our confidence up, so celebrating St. Piran’s Day is incredibly important. We will survive through our creativity, by using what is within us and costs nothing. We will invent and create NEW ways of survival , which is what we have ALWAYS done and history proves it WORKS.
In the latest Census, Cornish people have shown themselves to be present all over the UK and more school children identified themselves as Cornish in this year’s PLASC survey, Junior section. This augurs well. We also remember today all those people throughout the world who had to leave Kernow to earn a crust of bread and took their skills worldwide. Their descendants remain in the Diaspora, but their homes will be forever Cornish. To you all, wherever you live, “Be Proud to be Cornish; stand up and be counted.”
I wish you all a very Happy St.Pirantide, enjoy all these events happening throughout Kernow and in the Diaspora, in memory of our much loved saint. Make sure our children know about St.Piran and how we celebrate his life every year and that Kernow is a unique and special place, one that we cherish and must keep safe for future generations, the inheritors of our Earth.
Dy’Goel Sen Peran Da dhywgh-hwi oll arta, Kernow bys vykken”
8th March 2013
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