St Piran's Day in Redruth - Saturday 5th March, 2016

St Piran's Day

Redruth in Kernow has published the programme brochure for one of the biggest celebrations of Cornish culture and identity with organisers promising that this year's St Piran's Festival will be better than ever!

Saint Piran has been widely accepted now as Cornwall's National Saint and his black flag with its white cross is flown as the flag of Cornwall outside public buildings and other places across the Duchy.

Such is the popularity of the Redruth event, that it was mentioned in a submission by the Westminster Government to the Council of Europe as an example of Cornish difference and National Identity.

The Swan In Celtic Mythology

Ler and swans

The Swan, which is called "Eala" in Scots Gaelic, "Eala" in Irish, "Alarch" in Welsh, "Alarc’h" in Breton, "Olla" in Manx and "Alargh" Cornish, is known for its majestic grace and gliding mystical beauty. Little wonder then that these birds of the family Anatidae within the genus Cygnus are associated with the gods and goddesses of the pre-Christian Celtic peoples. They are seen as having links to the Otherworld (Aos Si) community whose world was reached through mists, hills, lakes, ponds, wetland areas, caves, ancient burial sites, cairns and mounds. Within these realms dwelt the Celtic gods with all of their supernatural ability. Association with these deities gave the swan an exalted status linked to the Celtic festivals such as those of Beltane and Samhain.

Swan species are: Whooper, Trumpeter, Tundra, Mute, Black-necked, Black, and Berwick. A male swan is called a cob; a female is a pen, and the young are called cygnets. The Northern Hemisphere species of swan have a plumage of pure white. The Southern Hemisphere species are mixed black and white. The Australian black swan is black except for the white flight feathers on its wings. However, the white Mute Swan was also introduced to Australia and New Zealand. The South American black-necked swan has a white body with a black neck. Largest of the waterfowl family Anatidae, the swan is one of the biggest of the flying birds. The larger of the species, including the mute swan, trumpeter swan, and whooper swan, can be over 59 in (1.5 m) with a weight of over 33 Ib (15 kg). Wingspans can extend to over 10 ft (3.1 m). Swans are noted as usually choosing a mate that lasts for life.

Cyril Richard ‘Rick’ Rescorla - 9/11 hero

Rick Rescorla

Cyril Richard ‘Rick’ Rescorla BA MA LLB holder of ‘The White Cross of Cornwall’, US Silver Star, US Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, US Purple Heart, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, British General Service Medal ‘Hard Core’ ‘The Cornish Hawk’ - saved 2,687 lives on September 11, 2001 whilst singing Cornish songs, academic, Cornish patriot, hero supreme, the man who predicted 9/11.

Rick Rescorla was born on 27th May, 1939 in Hayle in Cornwall. He grew up there with his grandparents and his mother, who worked as a housekeeper and companion to the elderly. In 1943, his hometown of Hayle served as headquarters for the 175th Infantry Regiment of the U.S. 29th Infantry Division, largely composed of American soldiers from Maryland and Virginia preparing for the D-Day invasion of Normandy. Young Rick idolized the American soldiers and wanted to become a soldier because of them.

Rescorla was a natural sportsman, setting a school record in the shot put, and was an avid boxer. When a professional boxing match was scheduled between a British boxer and an American heavyweight contender named Tami Mauriello, his friends backed the Cornishman. Rescorla stated, ‘I'm for Tammy’ [sic] and after Mauriello won the fight everyone in Hayle knew him as ‘Tammy’.

Mike Trebilcock - professional footballer, scoring twice in 1966 FA Cup Final for Everton

Mike Trebilcock

Mike Trebilcock was born on 29th November 1944 in Gunnislake in Cornwall.

A professional footballer, he played primarily as a winger and is most famous for scoring twice in the 1966 FA Cup Final for Everton, becoming the second black player to score in an FA Cup Final (Bill Perry of Blackpool being the first in 1953).

Mike Trebilcock played for non-league Tavistock before joining Plymouth Argyle in December 1962. He scored 27 times in 71 league games for the Pilgrims, leading to a £23,000 move to Everton on 31 December 1965. He made his debut a few days later against Aston Villa, but was injured and spent much of the rest of the season on the sidelines. In the meantime, Everton had been progressing through to the FA Cup final, where they would meet Sheffield Wednesday.

Emily Hobhouse - the Cornishwoman who took on the British Empire over their concentration camps in South Africa where starvation and cruelty was the norm

Emily Hobhouse

Not many realise that it was the British who invented the concentration camp system. Emily Hobhouse, referred to by the British Establishment as 'that bloody woman' did and set out to do something about the evil. Regarded as a traitor by the British, she is honoured in South Africa.

Emily Hobhouse was born in St Ive near Liskeard, Cornwall on 9th April 1860, the daughter of Reginald Hobhouse and Caroline Trelawny.  She was the sister of Leonard Hobhouse 1864-1929, the social philosopher and both were active members of the Adult Suffrage Society.  She was educated at home and lived with her parents until she was 35.  In 1895 she travelled to Minnesota to work amongst Cornish miners and their families who had migrated to America and fallen on hard times

Like many liberals, she was opposed to the Boer War and she denounced the government's actions in going to war.

Towards the end of 1900 she received information on how women and children were being treated by the British Army.  She wrote "poor women who were being driven from pillar to post, needed protection and organized assistance.  And from that moment I was determined to go to South Africa in order to render assistance to them".  In October 1900, she formed the Relief Fund for South African Women and Children.  The aim of the organisation was to "To feed, clothe, harbour and save women and children - Boer, British and other - who were left destitute and ragged as a result of the destruction of property, the eviction of families or other incidents resulting from the military operations".  She struggled to raise funds for her new organisation.

Maria Branwell - mother of the Brontës

Maria Branwell

Maria Branwell was born in 15 April 1783 in Penzance, Cornwall. She was the mother of writers Emily Brontë, Anne Brontë and Charlotte Brontë and of their brother, Branwell Brontë, who was a poet and painter.

Maria Branwell was the eighth child of twelve born to Thomas Branwell and Anne Carne in Penzance, Cornwall, although only five daughters and one son grew to adulthood. Thomas Branwell was a successful merchant and owned many properties throughout Penzance. The men of the Branwell family took part in the town's local public life, several serving as Mayor in the 19th century and also in other civic offices. The family were prominent Methodists, Thomas's sister and two of his daughters marrying clergymen of Wesleyan leanings. With the Carne family and others, they initiated and developed the first Wesleyan Methodist chapel in Penzance.

William Bligh - Captain of HMS Bounty, magnificent seaman

William Bligh

William Bligh was born on 9 September 1754 at St Tudy, Cornwall.

Bligh first went to sea in 1762 – at the tender age of 7, as a Captain’s personal servant on board HMS Monmouth. He joined the Royal Navy in 1770 where he served on HMS Hunter and became a Midshipman in 1771 serving on HMS Crescent and HMS Ranger. He was an intelligent man, well-versed in science and mathematics and was also a talented writer and illustrator. He became Sailing Master on the Resolution, commanded by Captain James Cook, quite an achievement as he was only 22 years of age. This voyage ended with the death of Cook on February 14th 1779 in Hawaii (known at that time as the Sandwich Islands).

In 1787 aged 33, he was given command of ‘The Bounty’, a three year old merchant ship, his mission was to transport breadfruit from Tahiti to the West Indies. Various books and films have portrayed him as a villain, a violent and unpleasant man – but is this the truth? Commanding a ship required a man of strong character, his crew would have comprised of mostly illiterate men, probably recruited by the press-gangs and he was most likely no better or worse than any other commander of his time.

William Wallace - The Great Scottish Patriot

Depiction of William Wallace

William Wallace (Scottish Gaelic: Uilleam Uallas; c.1270 - died 23 August 1305) was a Scottish knight, patriot and national hero. He was one of the main leaders during the Wars of Scottish Independence. Leading the Scottish rebellion against Edward I and along with Andrew Murray inflicted a famous defeat on the English army at Stirling Bridge.

William Wallace was born in the 1270s in Elderslie in Renfrewshire into a family of gentry, although there are also claims that he was born in Ellerslie in Ayrshire. Little is known about his family history of which there are no reliable sources. His early life was recounted in the The Actes and Deidis of the Illustre and Vallyeant Campioun Schir William Wallace, more commonly known as The Wallace written around 1477 by wandering minstrel Blind Harry (c. 1440 – 1492).

Following the death in 1286 of Alexander III, King of Scotland his only surviving relative, his three-year-old granddaughter, Margaret, the Maid of Norway was Scotland's Queen-in-waiting. Margaret died en route to Scotland from Norway in 1290. John Balliol was named as the new King of Scotland in 1292. However, Edward I of England undermined his reign and viewed Scotland as a vassal state. John Balliol's weak response to this angered the Scottish who grew tired of him and in 1295 appointed a council of twelve to rule instead. The newly-formed council negotiated a defensive alliance with King Edward of England's enemy, France. Scotland's treaty with France was known as the Auld Alliance.

The Celtic Festival as a Cultural Experience - An inside Look at the Tide that has Lifted Celtic Music

A sign of the resurgence of Celtic Identity in North America is the Celtic Festival. A phenomenon best shown by the annual increases in attendance figures and the number of festivals established within the past 20 years.

A major force in the growth of Celtic Festivals in North America is Celtic Heritage Productions, a firm that organizes dozens of Festivals and concerts primarily in Florida and North Carolina. The festivals provide an opportunity for Celtic bands to gain experience and build a fan base, making them an invaluable resource for aspiring Celtic bands. The firm's Mission Statement is:

Celtic Heritage Productions strives to educate individuals and groups about the heritage, history, culture and tradition of the Celtic lands through the medium of music, providing entertaining productions with broad appeal to a wide range of audiences.

Estimates vary on the number of American’s claiming descent from immigrants to North America from the modern Celtic Nations. More elusive still is identifying the number of American’s descended from Celtic immigrants who enjoy a “Celtic Identity”.  An analysis of the American 2010 Census data proffered in an August 2013 article in “Business Insider” estimates the number of descendants of Celtic immigrants to North America to be in the vicinity of 50 million, comprised primarily of Irish, Scottish and Welsh in that order and inclusive of 5 million Americans who claim Scots-Irish ancestry.  Manx, Cornish and Breton identity is more difficult to measure as it has generally been subsumed within the census data into either English or French categories.

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