Santes Dwynwen

Santes Dwynwen

Did you know that in Wales we have our own version of Valentine’s Day?

Celebrated on the 25th of January each year, it is called “Dydd Santes Dwynwen” – St Dwynwen’s Day. As with many Welsh myths and legends, there is of course a story behind this romantic day.

Dwynwen was a Welsh princess, living in the Brecon Beacons, and was renowned for being the prettiest of King Brychan Brycheiniog’s 24 daughters. Dwynwen fell in love with Maelon Dafodrill, but as she had already been promised to someone else(a prince no less) by her Father, and so her marriage to Maelon was forbidden. So distraught was Dwynwen that she prayed to forget Maelon, to ease her pain and suffering.

That night, in the forest, Dwynwen was visited by an angel, who was carrying a potion that would make her forget Maelon and turn him into a block of ice. She was then granted three wishes by God, and here is what she wished for:

  1. That Maelon be thawed
  2. That God met the hopes and dreams of true lovers
  3. That she should never have to marry

All three wishes were fulfilled, and to mark her thanks to God, she devoted herself to him for the rest of her life.

Dwynwen became a nun (thus fulfilling wish 3), and moved to the Isle of Anglesey. It is here that she build a church, which is called Llanddwyn (Church of Dwynwen), the remains of which can still be seen today on the island of Llanddwyn off the coast of Anglesey. The island is cut off by very high tides, so be sure to check the timetable if you’re looking to wander into the romantic realm.