June 22, 2024

South West News

South West News from Gloucestershire to Cornwall

10 fabulous events celebrating Cornish culture and heritage

Residents are being encouraged to embrace Cornwall’s rich and distinctive culture as we celebrate the 10-year anniversary since Cornish people were given minority status.

On 24 April 2014, the UK Government recognised the Cornish as a national minority under the European Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.

This gave Cornish people the same status at the Scots, Welsh and Irish, and means that Cornish residents have the right to express, preserve, share and develop their distinct culture and identity.

In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of people that identify as Cornish, with 117,350 people selecting Cornish as their national identity, main language or ethnic group in the most recent Census (2021).

A group of musicians singing and playing instruments
Various events are being planned for Speak Cornish Week (picture by Sam Rogerson)

And we’ve seen a revival of the Cornish language. More than 200 people sign up for Kernewek classes each year, and more than 8,000 schoolchildren have been having fun with the Cornish language through Go Cornish for Primary Schools programme, commissioned by Cornwall Council.

To mark the minority status anniversary, Cornwall Council is encouraging people to support events that celebrate all things Cornish.

The Council has highlighted 10 events that embody Cornwall’s rich culture and unique identity. Some are annual celebrations, while others have been organised specifically to mark the milestone anniversary.

Many of these events have received funding from the Council following the 2023 Devolution Deal for Cornwall, which included £500,000 for Cornish cultural and language projects.

  1. The Cornish Treasures exhibition at Kresen Kernow runs from now through to July. Visit it to find out about Cornish cultural heritage, from wrestling to food and music.
  2.       On 27 April, a Cornish language concert will take place at Redruth Chapel. This includes a youth orchestra and eight singer-songwriters, all performing new music.
  3.       During Speak Cornish Week in June, various events featuring Cornish singing will take place across Cornwall, from singing for young families in libraries to singing old favourites in pubs.
  4.       In July, Endelienta, an arts organisation in St Endellion, will bring together Cornish performers for a residency to create a new work. This will then be performed in a concert.
  5.       Also in July, there will be chances to experience Cornish wrestling in Bodmin and nearby.
  6.      August will see Cornish music and dance featured at the Lorient Festival in Brittany, France. More than 900,000 visitors attend the festival each year.
  7.      In September, the annual Gorsedh Kernow bardic ceremony will take place in Callington.
  8.       The Cornish County Gig Championships also get underway in September in Newquay.
  9.       Lowender, a Cornish music and dance festival, takes place in Redruth in October.
  10.       Cornish food will be celebrated as part of a project called More than just pasties in Redruth.

Councillor Dick Cole, Chair of the Cornish Minority Working Group, said: “Cornwall and Cornish people have a unique identity, which we need to cherish and protect into the future.

“The 10-year anniversary of the Cornish being given national minority status is certainly worth celebrating and I encourage people to support these brilliant events and activities that keep our Cornish traditions alive.”

Press release issued on April 30, 2024