St Ives Feast Day
Dating back centuries, the St Ives Feast is an ancient festival that celebrates the consecration of the parish church of St Eia, with the hurling of the Silver Ball supposedly with origins dating to at least one thousand years ago. With a heritage like this, if you can make it, you should!
Taking place each year on the first Sunday after the 3rd February, proceedings start with the mayor’s procession to the well of St Ia close to Porthmeor Beach for a blessing. After this, a very noisy and vigorous game of hurling the Silver Ball takes place where participants attempt to steal the ball from each other as they hurtle around town. The winner is the person who gives the ball to the mayor on the steps of St Ives Guildhall on the stroke of midday. The winner receives a gold coin. In the afternoon, pennies are thrown from the balcony to the children below.
Watching (or participating in, if you’re brave enough) Feast Day is a great insight into an ancient tradition, and it’s not difficult to see how it would have been hundreds of years ago as people jostle through the cobbled streets. Some even brave the February sea to escape with the ball, which is made of apple wood coated in silver – only in Cornwall!
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