Celtic Resurgence in Cornwall Builds Steam - The Penzance Cornish Language Festival

The Penzance Cornish Language Festival kicks off its first year this Saturday, February 25th.  This festival is destined for great things and quite likely will become a nexus for growing resurgence of Celtic Cornwall’s reawakening.

Festival organizer, Jane Howells,  is quoted in the Cornish Times: “ The festival has been created to celebrate the uniqueness of Cornish culture, language and heritage. We want to make it really easy for people to join in. We aim to cater for a wide range of interests with low ticket prices, and many free events.  The most important thing is that people come along, enjoy great Cornish entertainment and learn something new.”

The Festival is sponsored by Cornish Quest, an organization that bills itself as “…a small charity based in Cornwall which has been established to encourage the education of Cornish history, culture, language and law. “

" The first day of Festival Kernewek sets the scene with a conference on international recognition for Cornish culture, identity and language followed by an evening with storytellers Stephen Hall, Pauline Sheppard and Liz Harman and the best of Penwith singing with the Cape Singers and the Boilerhouse Singers. “ The festival has a creative programme with more than 36 events. It will culminate on St Piran’s Day, March 5, with a recreation of a medieval St Piran procession with a specially commissioned statue of St Piran being carried from the ancient centre of Penzance to the original mother church at Madron where there will be a St Piran service at 11am. The festival is based at The Acorn Theatre, Penzance and is organised by the educational charity Cornish Quest.” – Cornish Times

The Cornish language (Kernewek), one of the six Celtic languages, spoken in Cornwall, at the southwestern-most tip of Great Britain.  Cornish is a particularly interesting case since it is among the languages to have been declared "dead" as far back as the 18th century, one of the first victims of the expansion of English that is threatening so many languages around the world to this day. However, the reports of the death of Cornish have been greatly exaggerated!  Indeed, it is in many ways an inspiring case of language revival; today it is spoken by an active community of second-language learners and a number of children are being raised in the language and the first Cornish language preschool opened in 2012.


Festival Kernewek



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