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St Dwynwen's Day

January 25th is the day of Wales' very own patron saint of love, St. Dwynwen...

Dydd Santes Dwynwen Hapus! Happy Saint Dwynwen's Day!

Dwynwen was said to be one of the legendary 5th century King of Brecon, Brychan Brycheiniog's, many daughters. She fell in love with a north Walian prince, Maelon Dyfodrull, whom her father forbid her from marrying. Dwynwen ran away from home but, ultimately, couldn't disobey her father and be with Maelon without his consent.

In the child friendly version of the tale a frustrated Maelon quarrels with Dwynwen, showing her his true colours. The less child friendly account tells us that Maelon attempted to rape our heroine. Either way, Dwynwen prayed to God to maker her forget Maelon / save her from his unwanted advances. Her prayers were answered when Maelon was turned to ice and an angel appeared, ready to grant her three wishes:

First, Dwynwen wished for Maelon to be thawed, pardoned and released from his passion for her. Next, clearly having been put off the idea, she wished that she would never marry. Finally, she wished that she could help other lovers suffering from the anguish of love.

To fulfill the latter Dwynwen, along with her sister Cain and her brother Dyfnan, traveled around Wales, preaching and establishing churches. Eventually Dwynwen, now a nun, settled on a small island off the west coast of Anglesey, which came to be known as Llanddwyn (the church of St Dwynwen) and as a place of pilgrimage for young lovers.

St Dwynwen picture
Credit: www.portraitsofsaints.com

The idea of turning St Dwynwen's Day into a St Valentine's Day rival has been slowly growing in popularity since the 1970s. These days you can buy cards in the shops, and Anthony knows better than to let the occasion pass by unmarked...

vase of flowers
I found these waiting for me when I got in from work :)

Do you celebrate St Dwynwen's Day?






Comments

  1. Not heard that story before, thank you for sharing it with me. I love learning new things

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    Replies
    1. Me too, glad I could show you something new! :)

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  2. I've never heard of this before and I'm not sure how wishing to never fall in love ties in with Valentine's Day, but it was a great story! thanks so much for sharing at our #OverTheMoon linky ~ Leanne :)

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  3. I didn't know any of this. Thank you for sharing. I love learning about new things! X

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    Replies
    1. It's not all that romantic, but it is really interesting :)

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  4. Hi Jess, I love that I learnt something new about Wales from reading this post. Its so interesting to learn about other traditions like these. Thanks for sharing it on #MarvMondays :-) Emily

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    Replies
    1. So glad that I could share the story a bit! I love that we're starting to make more of old traditions, it's something a bit different to the big commercial ones. x

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