What is St Dwynwen’s Day?
St Dwynwen is the Welsh patron saint of lovers, which makes her the Welsh equivalent of St Valentine. St Dwynwen’s day is celebrated on the 25th January every year in Wales.
The story of St Dwynwen is said to go like this…
Dwynwen lived during the 5th century and was said to be the prettiest of her and her twenty-three sisters. Dwynwen fell in love with a prince called Maelon Dafodrill, but her father disallowed it and said she must marry someone else as per his arrangement.
Dwynwen was so upset that she could not marry Maelon that she begged God to make her forget him. After falling asleep, Dwynwen was visited by an angel, who appeared carrying a sweet potion designed to erase all memory of Maelon and turn him into a block of ice. (Slightly harsh, sounds like Dwynwen may have had a few too many Barti’s before she fell asleep but who knows…)
Later God gave three wishes to Dwynwen. Her first wish was that Maelon be thawed; her second that God meet the hopes and dreams of true lovers; and third, that she should never marry. All three were fulfilled, and as a mark of her thanks, Dwynwen devoted herself to God’s service for the rest of her life.
A well on Llanddwyn, an island off the coast of Anglesey, was named after Dwynwen and it became a place of pilgrimage after her death in 465AD. Lovers visiting the the well, believed that the sacred fish or eels that lived in the well could foretell whether or not love and happiness would be theirs.