While the rest of the UK has to wait for Valentine’s Day, here in Wales we have our own special day to celebrate love – on 25th January!
Saint Dwynwen, the Welsh Patron Saint of lovers, is celebrated across Wales on the 25 January and Denbighshire County Council has shared St. Dwynwen’s story in the hope it will encourage residents to show a little ‘love’ and support for Welsh businesses. A spokesman for the council explains:
“Dwynwen’s story dates back to the 5th century. It is said that Dwynwen, the prettiest of King Brychan Brycheiniog’s many daughters, fell in love with a local boy named Maelon Dafodrill. But Brychan would not allow the relationship to continue as he had previously arranged for Dwynwen to marry another prince. A distraught Dwynwen ran away to the woods, seeking help from God. According to the story, an angel appeared and offered Dwynwen a potion which would make her forget about Maelon, but the potion turned Maelon into a solid block of ice. God then granted Dwynwen three requests. Her first request was that Maelon should be released, the second that God would look after all true lovers and finally, that Dwynwen would never marry. Dwynwen would then show her gratitude for God’s assistance by retreating to Llanddwyn Island, off the Anglesey coast, where she lived the solemn life of a nun and built a convent.
“Today, despite its rather sad roots, and over 1500 years since Dwynwen’s passing in c.460, her story continues to be remembered and celebrated by lovers here in Wales. It is a tradition which has become increasingly popular in recent years, particularly among the young. But you don’t have to speak Welsh or even be Welsh to take part in the Saint Dwynwen’s Day celebrations.
“So how do we celebrate Saint Dwynwen’s Day today? It is celebrated in much the same way that we celebrate Valentine’s Day. You might wish to send your beloved a Saint Dwynwen’s Day card to show your affection, or buy them a gift to mark the occasion. If you really wanted to mark the occasion’s Welshness how about sending a traditional carved Welsh lovespoon? If you’re feeling in a particularly celebratory and loving mood, how about a nice evening meal and bottle of wine, or even staying the night in a local hotel and enjoying a lovely cooked breakfast the next morning as well (sounds good to me!).
“But where are we going to go to buy our gift or book our romantic evening meal? Here, on our own doorstep, on our local High Street, from our local businesses of course. There are so many great little businesses close by, be they card shops, gift shops, pubs, restaurants, cafés or hotels. You might just want to buy some quality fresh ingredients from your local grocer for a romantic home-cooked meal. It’s all here, in our own town. By supporting Denbighshire’s #Love Live Local campaign you can show your love for our precious local businesses whilst treating your beloved to something special. Whatever you decide to do to mark Saint Dwynwen’s Day, we hope you have a wonderful time. And remember, if an angel appears with a potion, don’t drink it!
“And a very Happy Saint Dwynwen’s Day to you all.”