Wales’s Lady of Love

Image from Hansuan_fabregas

You get two chances to celebrate love in Wales. If you are not a Welsh speaker listen out for “Diwrnod St Dwynwen Hapus” – “Happy St Dwynwen’s Day”.

In Wales St Dwynwen’s Day is the annual celebration of the patron saint of love. It takes place on 25 January  and the most traditional way to celebrate is apparently with a love spoon, preferably home made.

St Dwynwen’s tale is not a happy one. You will find our retelling of it elsewhere on Pembrokeshire.Online but Dwynwen was the most beautiful of her father’s 24 daughters. King Brychan Brycheiniog and his family lived in the area we now know as the Brecon Beacons in the fifth century. As was the custom the king had arranged a marriage for his daughter with a man not of her choosing. In fact Dwynwen was in love with Maelon, and he with her, but they had a furious row over the arranged marriage and both took off in distress.

When an angel offered Dwynwen a potion to drink that would make her stop loving Maelon, she agreed. As she drank the potion Maelon was turned into a statue of ice. The lady was then offered three wishes. She asked that Maelon be thawed, that God would help all true lovers and that she would not have to  marry.

In gratitude for her wishes being granted, Dwynwen became a nun. The convent she established is on a peninsula off the coast of Anglesey, Ynys Llanddwyn (‘Island of the Church of Dwynwen’).

Dwynwen’s is known throughout Wales as patron saint of lovers and pets, despite not officially being commemorated in the Catholic or Anglican liturgies or within the Church in Wales. She is however listed in the Orthodox Church.

If bestowing a love spoon as a token on your beloved doesn’t work its magic, there is always St Valentine’s on 14 February to look forward to…

Kitty Parsons

Kitty has forgotten how long she has been here now but she loves Pembrokeshire for its beauty and it's people. She spends her time searching out stories for, swimming in the sea , drawing and painting as Snorkelfish and eating cake. She says " has been an opportunity to celebrate this beautiful county and its people. Keep the stories coming. We love to hear from you."

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