Cornwall loves its traditions. It is one of the things that makes it such a wonderful county to visit. The people of Cornwall are very in touch with their past, and continue to honour the ways of life that have gone before them. Heritage is important, as is evidenced by the many museums and historical-themed attractions dotted up and down the landscape. From Wassailing to Montol, the Cornish know how to keep the old ways of life alive, and right now it is time for a very important, time-honoured tradition to take place in St Ives.
St Ives Feast
In 1434 the Church of St Eia was consecrated, and every year the St Ives Feast celebrates this anniversary with a procession, a blessing at the St Ia Well (near to Porthmeor beach), and a game of the rugby variation, Hurling the Silver Ball. The St Ives Feast is a time when the whole town comes together to celebrate and have a bit of fun, making a great spectacle for visitors, who can also enjoy some of the special events being put on throughout the town.
Hurling of the Silver Ball
Hurling the Silver Ball, or Cornish Hurling as it is sometimes called, is one of the oldest customs in Cornwall. It is thought to date back at least 1,000 years, and although it has all but died out, it is kept alive by two events, one in St Ives and one in St Columb (located near Newquay). Today, it is still an essential part of the St Ives Feast celebrations, and due to its continuing popularity with the locals, as well as bringing in visitors from across the country who want to witness the action, it looks like this won’t be changing any time soon.
Just like rugby, Hurling the Silver Ball is a rough and energetic sport that requires strength, speed, and agility. It starts off on the beach in St Ives, where the silver ball is thrown in amongst the crowd of players. There are two teams involved (originally thought to be the townspeople verses those living in the outlying countryside), and their objective is to return the silver ball to the mayor of St Ives on the steps of the Guildhall when the clock strikes midday.
Come and join us for the Feast
St Ives is a fun place to visit no matter what the time of year, and it really comes alive when there’s an event on. The Feast demonstrates that typical Cornish spirit and shows just how strong and close the communities of our towns and villages are. You are sure to love the atmosphere here, and with a front row seat for some great sporting action, you won’t be short of excitement.
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