St. Piran's Day
Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day
Today's Musings, History & Folklore
"Kernow, Kernow y keryn Kernow;
An mor hedre vo yn fos dhis a-dro
Th on onan hag oll rag Kernow!"
Cornwall, Cornwall, we love Cornwall;
For as long as the sea is a wall around you
We are one and all for Cornwall!
~ Bro Goth agan Tasow, the Cornish anthem
The Cornish language (Kernewek) is a Southwestern Brittonic language of the Celtic language family which became extinct as a first language in Cornwall in the late 18th century and is now undergoing a healthy revivification! Since its revival in the late 20th century, Cornish textbooks and works of literature have been published, and an increasing number of people are studying the language or being exposed to it through Cornish music, independent films, and children's books! As original Cornish literature and poetry in current publication, in recent years, a number of Cornish translations of popular literature are now available such as including Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Around the World in Eighty Days, Treasure Island, The Railway Children, Hound of the Baskervilles, The War of the Worlds, The Wind in the Willows, A Christmas Carol, and The Hobbit! Happy St. Piran's Day! Gool Peran Lowen!
Happy St. Piran's Day, the national day of Cornwall, held on 5 March every year and named after one of the patron saints of Cornwall, Saint Piran, who is also the patron saint of tin miners.
Historically, culturally and linguistically, Cornwall has close ties to the Celtic lands of Wales, Brittany and Ireland.
The Celtic tribes who inhabited what is now known as Cornwall between the Iron Age and the Post-Roman period were called the Dumnonii and Cornovii.
The name Cornwall is thought to derive from tribe Cornovii. However, in Old English, the language was also spoken by the Saxons, and the Cornish were often referred to as 'Westwalas' (West Welsh). Constant warring with the Saxons resulted in a formal boundary between the Cornish and Saxons, marked by the River Tamar in 936. But even long after this boundary fell, the Cornish retained their distinct heritage.
The Cornish language, similar to Welsh and Breton, shares the English alphabet, but unlike Welsh or Breton, Cornish does not use letters that include two characters such as Ll and Ch.
The Cornish language which had been going into a decline is now experiencing a revival, supported by Cornwall County Council which has recently put in place a strategy to help revive the language, which includes bilingual signage, encouraging nurseries and primary schools to teach it and helping to stage Cornish language events.
Additionally, Cornwall’s biggest music festival, Boardmasters, also well as the Cornish Folk Festival also helps promote the language, with newer musicians and groups including songs and musical tracks including Cornish.
For more on the Cornish Language, click the engraved portrait of Dorothy Pentreath, otherwise Dolly Pentreath, of Paul near Mousehole, Cornwall (c. 1692-1777), the last known native speaker of the Cornish language.