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Uncovering Cornwall: A Guide to the Local Culture

Introduction

Cornwall is a beautiful county in the south west of England, with a long history and a unique culture. With its stunning coastline, quaint fishing villages, and ancient monuments, it’s easy to see why Cornwall is such a popular destination for tourists. But it’s not just about the scenery; Cornwall has a vibrant culture, with an array of traditions and customs that make the county so special. This guide will explore the local culture of Cornwall, from food and drink to art and music, to help visitors uncover the heart of this wonderful county.

Cuisine

Cornwall has a delicious array of local dishes to explore. Pasties are a classic staple, made with beef, potatoes, onions and swede, wrapped in pastry and often served with a side of gravy. Crab sandwiches are also popular, as is the traditional Cornish cream tea – a plate of finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam, and a pot of tea. For a real treat, try the traditional Cornish ice cream, made with fresh local ingredients, or the famous Cornish fudge.

Arts and Crafts

The local arts and crafts of Cornwall are a great way to explore the culture of the county. From the iconic Cornish tin miners’ helmets to the intricate leatherwork of the tinners, there is a wealth of heritage to discover. The craft of spinning and weaving has also been a part of the local culture for centuries, and today you can find a variety of woven goods from blankets to carpets. There are also many pottery workshops around the county, where you can watch the potters at work, and purchase some of their unique pieces.

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Music and Dance

Music and dance are an integral part of the Cornish culture, from the traditional folk music of the tin miners to the modern sounds of the contemporary bands. The traditional music of the county has been passed down through generations, and is often played at festivals and events. The Cornish step-dance is also an important part of the local culture, and can be seen at various events throughout the year.

Festivals and Events

Cornwall is home to a variety of festivals and events throughout the year, from the traditional Obby Oss festival in Padstow to the modern Boardmasters Festival in Newquay. The county is also home to a number of unique events, such as the World Worm Charming Championships in St. Columb Major, and the International Sea-Shanty Festival in Falmouth. There are also plenty of local fairs and carnivals to explore, where you can sample local food, watch traditional craft demonstrations, and take in the atmosphere of the county.

Language

The Cornish language is an important part of the county’s culture, and is still spoken by some people today. It is a Celtic language, closely related to Welsh, and is believed to have been spoken in Cornwall for over two thousand years. Although the language is not as widely spoken as it once was, it is still an important part of the county’s culture, and is often heard in local place names and in the rural dialect.

Architecture

The architecture of Cornwall is a fascinating part of its culture. From the stone circles and cairns of the Neolithic era to the stunning Elizabethan manor houses and the iconic castles of St. Michael’s Mount and Tintagel, there is a wealth of heritage to explore. The county is also home to a variety of churches and cathedrals, each with its own unique style and history, and the cobbled streets of many of the fishing villages are a delight to wander through.

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Mythology

Cornwall is a land steeped in myth and legend, with tales of giants, dragons, and sea monsters. The legend of King Arthur is one of the most famous, with Tintagel Castle believed to be the birthplace of the legendary king. The county is also home to a variety of other mythical creatures, such as the Cornish piskie, a small, mischievous fairy, and the bucca, a malevolent water spirit.

Sports

Surfing is a popular sport in Cornwall, and the county is home to some of the best waves in the UK. The sport has a long history in Cornwall, with the first recorded surfers in the 1920s. Surfing is now a major part of the county’s culture, with an array of world-class waves to explore. Other popular sports include sailing, sea kayaking, and fishing, and there are plenty of opportunities to get involved in these activities in Cornwall.

Literature

The literature of Cornwall is an important part of the county’s culture. From the classic novels of Daphne du Maurier to the modern works of Patrick Gale, there is a wealth of stories to explore. The county is also home to a variety of poets, such as Charles Causley and Laurence Binyon, and some of the best writers of the twentieth century, including the renowned Thomas Hardy and Agatha Christie.

Religion

Religion has a long history in Cornwall, and the county is home to a variety of churches, cathedrals, and chapels. The county is predominantly Christian, with the Church of England being the largest denomination. However, there are also a number of other religious communities in Cornwall, such as the Quakers, the Methodists, and the Unitarians.

Conclusion

Cornwall is a county with a rich and vibrant culture, from its delicious cuisine to its unique arts and crafts, and its vibrant music and dance. Its ancient architecture, mythology, and literature provide a wealth of heritage to explore, and its sports and religion are also an important part of the local culture. This guide has explored the culture of Cornwall, to help visitors uncover the heart of this wonderful county.

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