Did you know that Wales has its very own Valentine’s Day?
It’s called St. Dwynwen’s Day and it’s unique to Wales. So if you want to celebrate a romantic day together without the commercialism, or share your Welsh heritage, Sunday 25th January is the day to do it!
The Welsh Patron Saint of Lovers.
Dwynwen, a 5th century princess, was one of 24 children fathered by the King of Wales, Brychan Brycheiniog of Brechon (Brecon). Her father refused to allow her to marry her true love, Maelon Dafodrill, as he had already betrothed her to someone else. Dwynwen fled to the woods and begged God to make her forget her love for Maelon. While she slept, an angel gave Dwynwen a magic potion to cool her love for him.
Unfortunately, her lover Maelon, who had come looking for her, also drank the same potion and his heart was so cooled he turned into a block of ice. Dwynwen was horrified and prayed again to God, who answered her prayers by granting her three wishes.
Her first wish was to have Maelon thawed and for him to forget his love for her, as they could never be married; her second, to have God look kindly on the hopes and dreams of true lovers whilst mending the broken hearts of the spurned; and her third was for her to not marry the man her father had chosen, but to devote the remainder of her life to God, as thanks for saving Maelon.
Dwynwen later became a nun and settled on Ynys Llanddwyn — a small tidal island off the west coast of Anglesey in north west Wales — founding a church there. Her most well known saying was “Nothing wins hearts like cheerfulness”. After her death she was declared a saint and ever since, Welsh lovers have prayed to St Dwynwen, asking for her help in marrying their true love, or for forgetting a false lover.
Traditionally, St. Dwynwen’s Day is celebrated by giving and receiving lovespoons. The Welsh lovespoon dates back to the 17th century when young men would carve them from a single piece of wood, decorate the handle with romantic symbols and then give them to the lady who had caught their eye. The earliest surviving example, dating from around 1667, is on display at the Welsh Folk Museum in St. Fagans, Cardiff.
For a modern (and delicious!) twist, you could always surprise your other half with a chocolate lovespoon from Cocoa & Co or a lovespoon cookie from Iced. So why not try something a little different this year and celebrate St Dwynwen’s Day instead?