Thursday, January 24, 2008

Cornish Tinners' and Seafarers' Day

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted
Also called Paul Pitcher Day

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountains green?
And was the Holy Lamb of God
On England's pleasant pastures seen?
And did the countenance divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among these dark satanic mills?

William Blake

An old labor day, celebrating the new season of sailing and mining in Cornwall, England. Cornish tin miners traditionally set up a pitcher in a public place and threw stones at it to destroy it.

A replacement pitcher was then bought and filled with beer, which was replenished throughout the day as they drank from it.

The miners were great inventors of reasons to celebrate, this one being a rebellion against the rule that only water was to be drunk during work time.

Was Jesus a tin man too?
Old Cornish tradition has it that Jesus Christ went to Cornwall with his uncle, St Joseph of Arimathea (feast day March 17). There is even an old local song that says "Joseph was a tin man". Legend has it that at Glastonbury, which was also known as Avalon (resting place of King Arthur), Joseph stuck his staff in the ground, and from it sprung the famous 'Glastonbury Thorn' tree which always flowered on Christmas Day.

Cornwall has long been a centre of tin mining, known even to ancient Phoenician traders who travelled from the Mediterranean to Britain for the tin they sold in North Africa, the Middle East and other areas of their influence. It is not impossible that the ancient Cornish tradition about Jesus and his uncle might be true. We know from the Bible that Joseph was a wealthy man (he provided the tomb that Jesus was buried in), and he could quite feasibly have travelled to the British Isles ...

Pictured: A Cornish tin mine

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