Fall in love with St Dwynwen’s Day. It’s Wales’ very own version of St Valentine’s Day. Falling on January 25th , people exchange cards and gifts, gaze lovingly into each other’s eyes over candlelit dinners, take long walks on deserted beaches.
Who was St Dwynwen?
A 4th-century Welsh princess who lived in what is now the Brecon Beacons National Park. Dwynwen was unlucky in love, so she became a nun and prayed that true lovers have better luck than she did. We celebrate St Dwynwen’s Day – 25 January – in much the same way as people mark St Valentine’s Day on 14 February.
How did she become the Welsh patron saint of lovers?
Dwynwen was the prettiest of King Brychan Brycheiniog’s 24 daughters. She fell in love with a local lad called Maelon Dafodrill, but King Brychan had already arranged for her to marry another prince. Maelon took the news badly, so the distraught Dwynwen fled to the woods to weep, and begged God to help her. She was visited by an angel who gave her a sweet potion to help her forget Maelon, and turned him into a block of ice.
God then granted Dwynwen three wishes. Her first wish was that Maelon be thawed; second, that God help all true lovers; and third, that she should never marry. In gratitude, Dwynwen became a nun, setting up a convent on Llanddwyn Island, a beautiful little spot on Anglesey. Her name means, ‘she who leads a blessed life’.
Incidentally, as well as being the Welsh patron saint of lovers, she’s also the patron saint of sick animals. So if your budgie’s unwell, try praying to St Dwynwen before calling the vet.
What happens on St Dwynwen’s Day?
Quite simply, it’s the most romantic day of the year in Wales. people exchange cards and gifts, gaze lovingly into each other’s eyes over candlelit dinners, take long walks on deserted beaches, run through meadows in slow-motion while holding hands, carve lovespoons, cwtch up in front of roaring log fires, and put on our smartest underwear. Just in case.
Does everyone celebrate St Dwynwen’s Day in Wales?
Not everyone, but it’s becoming increasingly popular, especially among Welsh speakers. But you don’t have to be Welsh-speaking (or even Welsh) to join in the love-fest. You have our total blessing to surprise your loved one with a special St Dwynwen’s Day treat – Or for the ultimate amatory adventure, make a pilgrimage to St Dwynwen’s Church at Llanddwyn Island on Anglesey.