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Every January, people throughout Wales celebrate St Dwynwen's Day. But what actually is it and where did it come from?
What is St Dwynwen's Day?
St Dwynwen's Day is the Welsh equivalent to Valentine's Day, and it's a day dedicated to all things love.
When is St Dwynwen's Day?
St Dwynwen's Day (or Dydd Santes Dwynwen in Welsh) lands on the 25 January, every year.
Who was St Dwynwen?
St Dwynwen (Santes Dwynwen) was a fourth-century Welsh princess who wasn't very lucky when it came to love, and as a result decided to become a nun. In turn, she dedicated the rest of her life to helping others find love.
How does the story actually go?
According to the legend, Dwynwen was said to be the prettiest of King Brychan Brycheiniog's 24 daughters. She fell in love with Maelon Dafodrill, the son of a neighbouring king. But her father, King Brychan, had already arranged for her to marry another prince.
Dwynwen was so distraught, that she fled to the woods to weep, and begged for God to help her. She was visited by an angel who gave her a potion that would help her forget Maelon, but instead it turned him into a block of ice.
Dwynwen was then granted three wishes. Her first wish was for her beloved Maelon to be thawed; her second wish was for God to help all true lovers; and her third wish was that she would never marry. All three wishes came true.
After all of this, Dwynwen left home to become a nun, and set up a convent on Llanddwyn Island (to which the remains of Dwynwen's church can be seen today).
Since then, she's been honoured as the Welsh patron saint of lovers.
How is St Dwynwen's Day celebrated?
Just like Valentine's Day, people celebrate St Dwynwen's Day by doing a range of things; exchanging gifts and cards, treating their loved ones to a special meal, going out for the day.
Some (very lucky) recipients may even receive a Welsh love spoon...
What is a Welsh love spoon?
A Welsh love spoon is decoratively carved wooden spoon that you gift to someone you love. The idea of carving and giving love spoons originates in Wales from hundreds of years ago. Historically, young men would gift their love interests a love spoon, with the hope that they would accept and commence a relationship.
Nowadays, as much as love spoons are still considered romantic gifts, they're also used to commemorate events such as weddings, birthdays, anniversaries and christenings.