Lilly-banging, trigging or just a simple chocolate egg hunt – Cornwall has always had plenty to offer at Easter.
Now that the first daffodils are well and truly out, and Cornwall is really showing off its temperate climate, it’s the time to think about the Easter festivities and how to make the most of spring in our beautiful county. What’s happening in and around The Cornwall this Easter?
Of course, our thoughts first turn to chocolate; and no family Easter weekend would be complete without the Easter egg hunt. Yes, it’s basically about chocolate, but at least the kids are getting fresh air and exercise before they scoff yet more of the sweet stuff. The National Trust always puts on a good hunt at Easter, with many of its properties taking part. The closest one to us is at the fascinating Lanhydrock House, where the large estate is the perfect place to search for clues. Our neighbours at Heligan are encouraging young “eggsplorers” to learn about real eggs before earning their chocolatey ovoid reward.
Also close to The Cornwall, The Eden Project as all sorts going on at its Chocolate Festival. Learn about the history of chocolate and its place on our planet – then wash your hands, roll your sleeves up, and have a go at making your own chocolate bar. If your idea of food extends beyond chocolate (is that possible?), try the Trereife Easter Food and Craft Fayre near Penzance, where you can supplement your diet with gorgeous local meats, fish, cheeses and alcoholic beverages.
So far so yummy. But if you want to celebrate Easter in proper Cornish style, what should you do? Make sure that your hot cross buns have saffron in them for a start (a very tasty addition), and do not under any circumstances attempt to mine for tin on Easter Sunday as it upsets the “knockers” (underground spirits).
Whether we take Easter off to appease the knockers or not, it’s certainly true that Easter in Cornwall has an air of relaxed celebration to it. “Goody Friday” was a holiday, with families taking the day off to picnic and go for walks; and the cliff path is still a busy place on Good Friday these days. To emulate our ancestors, grab a pasty and head off in search of a pretty place to eat it. There are many beautiful old churches scattered across Cornwall that will be holding Easter services; and Truro Cathedral has a programme of services and events over Easter (including children’s trails).
To experience a unique Easter custom, you can warm your cockles on Good Friday by heading for the Helford River to gather some “trigg meat”. Good Friday is traditionally the “trigging” day, when cockles are collected. Check the tides, and be sure not to take the baby triggs (smaller than a 20p piece).
Other traditions haven’t survived. Penzance’s Easter Monday “Lilly-bangers” dice tournament sadly no longer takes place (throwing dice outdoors to win gingerbread? Excellent idea. Let’s hope for a revival…) and the folks of Polperro don’t rise early to watch the sun dance. However the spirit of the Easter festivities remains unchanged – it’s a time for spending with family and friends, enjoying the emerging spring and sharing delicious food.
And speaking of which… At The Cornwall, we’re holding an Easter Sunday lunch at the Arboretum Restaurant, a celebration of excellent, seasonal Cornish food, and a wonderful excuse to get together with your favourite people. We’re also offering a two or three-night Easter break for families at The Cornwall, which includes a special Easter afternoon tea and egg decorating for the children.
So, you may have to spend the weekend hunting for clues and eggs, but you won’t have to search very far to find marvellous entertainment and food. Have a very happy Cornish Easter – Pask Lowen!