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DYDD SANTES DWYNWEN: Why do we celebrate this day?

DYDD SANTES DWYNWEN: Why do we celebrate this day?

Image: @friendschurches

Dydd Santes Dwynwen - Wales' own Valentines day.

We associate this day with flowers, cards, chocolates and love spoons, but do you know the history behind this special day?

St Dwynwen is the Welsh patron St of lovers, making her the Welsh equivalent to St Valentine.

St Dwynwen lived during the 5th century and legend has it that she was one of Brychan Brycheiniog’s 24 daughters and was born in what we know now as the Brecon Beacons. Her name means, 'she who leads a blessed life'.

She was considered the prettiest of all the daughters but you might be surprised to hear that she wasn't lucky in love!

Dwynwen fell in love with a prince called Maelon Dafodrill, but unfortunately her father had other plans and already arranged that she should marry someone else.

She fled to the forest in tears and begged God to help her. An Angel gave her potion to forget her true love and turned Maleon to a block of ice. God then granted Dywnwen 3 wishes:

  1. Her first wish was that Maelon was thawed
  2. Her Second wish was for God to meet the hopes and dreams of true lovers
  3. And thirdly, 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 and thus became a nun who set up her own convent on Llanddwyn Island, Angelsey.

According to the tale, there was a fish, who lived in a well near the church, that could predict the future of couples. If a couple went there and the water bubbled then the couple would have good luck. As a result the church and well became a place of pilgrimage in the middle ages.

We celebrate her dedication to true lovers, so for the ultimate celebration, why not make a pilgrimage to St Dwynwen's Church at Llanddwyn Island in Anglesey with your love and say ‘dwi’n dy garu di ‘ (I love you)!

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