Did you know that 2017 is Wales’ official year of legends? Throughout this year we are going to tell you stories about the legends and myths of Wales that are guaranteed to leave you feeling enchanted.
West Wales has many interesting legends from basking mermaids along the Ceredigion coast to the fascinating stories that surround the legend of Merlin.
You may not know that Wales has its own equivalent of Valentine’s Day, which is celebrated on January 25 every year and this brings us to tell you about St Dwynwen in the lead up to Dydd Santes Dwynwen (St Dwynwen’s Day).
Dwynwen was a princess who fell in love with prince Maelon in the 5th century. Her father had already arranged her marriage to someone else so in her grief she fled to the woods where she begged God that she would forget about Maelon. An angel visited her and brought a sweet potion which erased all memory of the prince and turned him into a block of ice.
Dwynwen was granted 3 wishes by God: her first wish was for Maelon to be thawed, the second wish was that all hopes and dreams and lovers would be fulfilled and her third wish was that she should never marry. Dwynwen was so grateful to God, she decided to devote her life to his service by becoming a nun. She founded a convent at Llandwyn, on an island just off Anglesey, where a spring, Ffynnon Dwynwen, has become a place of pilgrimage.
Today St Dwynwen’s Day is celebrated by lovers in many parts of Wales in a similar way to St Valentine’s Day with expressions of love through greeting cards and gifts.
If you’re looking for inspiration for a way to treat your special someone on St Dwynwen’s Day, book a romantic cottage break. It’s easy to find a cosy cottage at excellent value at this time of year and it’s the perfect time to explore uncrowded West Wales. So if you like the idea of taking long walks hand in hand or snuggling up on the sofa in front of a roaring fire, take a look at our selection of romantic cottages.
A likely gift
Love spoons were originally made by young men during the winter or by men on sea voyages who wished to show their interest to court a particular girl. A girl may have received several spoons from different suitors and they would be displayed on a wall at her home.
Today Welsh love spoons are used to declare a suitor’s intent, to commemorate a celebration such as a wedding or engagement, a birth, christening and to express the feeling of love on St Dwynwen’s Day.
Wood carvers have traditionally used a range of timbers in their work, usually those readily available and easily worked such as softwoods like sycamore and lime.
A few facts you probably didn’t know
Dwynwen means ‘she who leads a blessed life’
St Dwynwen is Wales’ very own patron saint of love
St Dwynwen is also considered the patroness of farmers’ beasts