In Wales, there’s a unique version of St Valentine’s Day. It’s called St Dwynwen’s Day and is a happy occasion for adults and children alike. The story revolves around the Welsh patron saint of lovers or St Dwynwen, marking a day in history for love.
If you’d like to wish someone a Happy St Dwynwen’s Day, simply say, “diwrnod santes dwynwen hapus.” The pronunciation can be found in a handy video to perfect your Welsh!
St Dwynewn’s Day, called Dydd Santes Dwynwen as any bilingual person of Wales will know, is celebrated on the date of 25 January each year. The legends around it make for a most fascinating story. Discover the facts about this upbeat holiday!
The St Dwynwen’s Day Story
In 4th century Wales, St Dwynwen was a princess who was not so lucky with love. As such, she became a nun, all the while praying for others to have the kind of luck in love that she never did.
By all accounts of the legends, she was the most beautiful among King Brychan Brycheiniog’s daughters, an astounding fact for he had 24 of them. Dwynwen fell head over heels in love with a boy named Maelon Dafodrill, but her father had plans for her to marry another prince. Maelon was understanding upset, as was Dwynwen who fled to the woods to cry. While there, she begged for the Lord to help her. An angel came, giving her a sweet potion to make her forget all about that other boy. The potion turned him into a block of ice.
Now Dwynwen was given 3 wishes. The first wish she made was for Maelon to thaw out. Second, she wished for God to help all the true loves in this world. Her final wish was that she wouldn’t ever marry. To show her gratitude, Dwynwen became a nun. She set up a convent located at Llanddwyn Island.
Today, Dwynwen is also known for being the patron saint of sick animals as well as for lovers. Some people pray for the wellness of their animals in her name, though the most colour comes from lovers on this special holiday.
Younger children are told a different version of Dwynewn’s story. It’s a simplified tale that leaves out the greater details, revealing only that she’s upset she can’t marry Maelon and runs into the forest to cry where the angel grants her the position of Saint of Love.
How St Dwynwen’s Day is Celebrated?
In modern times, St Dwynwen’s Day is much more celebrated with special events. Concerts and parties are quite popular, plus many will give a greeting card, gift, or craft to their loves. Despite Valentine’s Day being most popular, St Dwynwen’s Day is becoming more celebrated.
One popular thing to do is compose a St Dwynwen’s Day poem for your love. It’s common to see people at their local pubs reading the poems they’ve written. Additionally, romantic meals are another special way to commemorate this occasion.
St Dwynwen’s Day Gifts
At Gifts With Heart, we’re pleased to offer unique yet affordable gifts for St Dwynwen’s Day, Valentine’s Day, and other holidays and special occasions throughout the year. Mark them all with these handmade Welsh gifts, each made in Wales, to show your love to everyone that has a place in your heart.