Happy St Dwynwen’s Day (and how this day came to be!)
Here in Pembrokeshire Wales we are surrounded by the history and folklore of ancient Welsh traditions, one of which is Dydd Santes Dwynwen (St Dwynwen’s Day) which is celebrated on January 25th
St Dwynwen is the Welsh patron saint of lovers – as opposed to the more widely celebrated St Valentine.
So what is the history behind St Dwynwen?
Woven between the historical facts and the long held tradition of story and song in Wales, this is what we know of her story:
St Dwynwen lived during the 5th Century, and legend tells that she was the prettiest of Welsh king Brychan Brycheiniog’s twenty-four daughters. She fell in love with a man named Maelon Dafodrill, but as would often have happened in that time, her father had already arranged for her to marry someone else.
In her grief Dwynwen prayed to God that she could forget Maelon. The story goes that an angel visited her in her sleep with a sweet potion for her, designed to erase her memory of Maelon and turn him into a block of ice.
Dwynwen’s three wishes…
God then granted Dwynwen three wishes. She wished firstly that Maelon be thawed, secondly that God would meet the hopes and dreams of true lovers, and thirdly that she herself would never be married.
All three of her wishes were fulfilled, and to show her thanks Dwynwen devoted the rest of her life to God’s service.
She became a nun, and built a church on Llanddwyn Island off Anglesey in North Wales. As she became known as the Patron Saint of Lovers pilgrimages were made to her holy well on the island. It was said that the faithfulness of a lover could be determined by the movements of the sacred fish that lived in the well. Pilgrims believed that if the water ‘boiled’ from the movement of the fish that good luck and love would follow.
Pilgrims would leave offerings at her shrine, and over time it became such a popular destination for pilgrims that it became one of the richest pilgrim areas during Tudor times. This meant that a chapel could be built with the funds in the 16th Century on the site of Dwynwen’s original chapel – and the ruins of this latter chapel can still be seen today
Although St Dwynwen’s Day is not as well known as St Valentine’s Day, it has a cultural significance in Wales. In fact it is becoming more widely celebrated with special events and greeting cards for those in Wales or from Welsh roots who choose to honour St Dwynwen as their Patron Saint of Lovers.
So from us all at Croft Farm and Celtic Cottages – we wish YOU, a very Happy Saint Dwynwen’s Day, or in Welsh ‘Dydd Santes Dwynwen Hapus’ !
If you would like a holiday at Croft Farm and Celtic Cottages with your loved ones, remember to check out our Special Offers – we still have a few more days to go of our ‘Spring14’ offer :
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Offer excludes dates 4th – 25th April, 2014*
*Offers are based on Holidays taken and paid for in full before 22nd May, 2014 Offer ends 31st January, 2014 Maximum 2 nights free on any one booking.
Only one offer may be used per household. These offers may not to be used with any other discounts or offers, except in the case of Croft House £100 loyalty voucher.