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Last Updated: Friday, 4 March, 2005, 14:25 GMT
Children mark patron saint's day
Hundreds of schoolchildren have paraded through Penzance for the first time to celebrate St Piran's birthday.

The event kicked off the annual celebrations in honour of Cornwall's patron saint who landed in the county from Ireland in the 5th Century.

More than 300 children wearing black and white rosettes, the colours of the Cornish flag, performed a version of the traditional Furry Dance.

The Furry Dance is one of the oldest surviving customs in the country.

It goes back hundreds of years when rival dances were held around Cornwall and northern Europe in a celebration of the coming of spring and the passing of winter.

He reputedly lived until he was 206
It is believed that St Piran and the Irish holy man Ciaran are one and the same
The St Piran's flag's colours of black and white signify the white tin on the black hearth

Cornish bard Howard Curnow, from Penzance, said: "I have been involved with St Piran celebrations for a number of years and with the resurgence in Cornish identity, I thought it was about time I turned my attention to home.

"With the multitude of public and smaller events, the celebration is spreading."

On Saturday night there will be a concert at Mount's Bay school in Penzance where children from the town will stage a variety performance along with an audience sing-along with the Cadgwith Singers.

Other events include a procession through Truro on Saturday and Perranporth on Sunday when St Piran's story is retold in a drama on the dunes.

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