Wales' St Valentine
St Dwynwen's Day
Dydd Santes Dwynwen or St Dwynwen’s Day is the Welsh equivalent to the story of St Valentine.
The exact details differ from area to area, and the story has changed over the centuries, but the tale goes that Dwynwen, the prettiest daughter of Welsh king Brychan Brycheiniog, fell in love with Maelon Dafodrill. However, her father wouldn’t let her marry him, so she ran away into the forest and prayed to God to fall out of love with Maelon.
God answered her prayers, turned Maelon to ice, and gave Dwynwen three wishes: first, she thawed Maelon, second, she wished for the happiness of all lovers and third that she wouldn’t marry and instead devote herself to God.
The remains of the church she founded can be visited on Llanddwyn, an island off Anglesey. Llanddwyn is also the home of her well, where legend has it if a couple visits and the water in the well boils, they are true soulmates. There is also a saying that a carp that lives in the well can bless your union if you ask for it (and test the fidelity of your partner, but that’s another story!)
So to profess your undying love for someone in Wales, then the 25th of January is the perfect day. There are lots of ways to celebrate but the Welsh tradition of presenting a love spoon covered with carvings of hearts, locks and Celtic crosses is still very popular.
Or simply scoop up a bunch of early daffodils (we hear there are some blooming already down near Dale and Manorbier), and head out for a walk on one of our gorgeous beaches, then ‘cwtch up’ by a toasty fire – there’s nothing more romantic in our eyes!
And just in case, here are a few sayings you may need…
In my heart: Yn fy nghalon
I love you: Rwy’n dy garu di
Will you marry me: Wnei di fy mhriodi i?