Celebrate St Dwynwen's Day in Wales | true

Celebrate St Dwynwen's Day in Wales

Posted 22 Jan 2021

Celebrate St Dwynwen’s Day in Wales

When you arrive for university in a new city or even a new country, that place becomes your home from home. One of the main benefits of university life is that somewhere completely new has the ability to become an important part of your life. You can reinvent yourself if you want to as you immerse yourself in everything that the city has to offer over the next three or so years. 

Local traditions are what help give cities and countries their identity and, for guests planning to stay at our Swansea student accommodation, they certainly won’t be short of new traditions to get involved with in Wales. One such tradition happens every January - St Dwynwen’s Day.

What is St Dwynwen’s Day?

At its most basic you could describe St Dwynwen’s Day as the Welsh Valentine’s Day, but it feels like much more than that. The day is dedicated to the Welsh patron saint of lovers and is celebrated as the most romantic day of the year. The popularity of St Dwynwen’s Day is increasing in Wales, especially among Welsh speakers. You’ll often notice an increase in related events and concerts to get involved in. 

When is St Dwynwen’s Day?

St Dwynwen’s day (Dydd Santes Dwynwen in Welsh) falls on the 25th of January each year.

How is St Dwynwen’s Day celebrated?

It’s a day for lovers and treating the one you love. Romantic dates, walks along the beach or a cwtch (pronounced kutch, meaning a loving cuddle) in front of your favourite film. One tradition unique to St Dwynwen’s Day is to give your loved one a love spoon (no, not like that!) Welsh love spoons are handcrafted wooden spoons which Welsh folklore states were hard carved by young men as a love token for their sweethearts. 

How to say ‘Happy St Dwynwen’s Day’ in Welsh

“Dydd Santes Dwynwen Hapus” (Pronounced: dee-th san-tes doyn-wen ha-peas)

Who Was St Dwynwen?

Like all of our favourite romantic characters from film and books, St Dwynwen’s story is a little tragic to say the least! It is said that Dwynwen was the prettiest of King Brychan Brycheiniog’s 24 daughters (which lets face it, seems quite excessive). She fell in love with a prince called Maelon Dafodrill but her father had other ideas, and had planned for her to marry somebody else. So far, we’re off to a Disney worthy start, right?! 

Dwynwen was understandably heartbroken that she couldn’t marry Maelon. To make matters worse, Maelon didn’t take the news that well either, and let's just say he wasn’t particularly gentlemanly about it. Dwynwen fled to the woods and begged God to help her forget him and some stories say that she wanted to freeze his passion (you need to remember this is the 5th century, so a big night out with the girls was simply not an option...) 

When she fell asleep, Dwynwen was visited by an angel carrying a potion that would indeed erase the memory of Maelon, but would also freeze him into a block of ice. God would also give Dwynwen three wishes.

With her first wish Dynwen wished for Maelon to be thawed. After all, she did love him, so I guess she didn’t want for him to spend his life as an ice cube. Her second was that God met the hopes and dreams of true lovers. Finally, the third wish was that she herself would never marry, because she still had no time for the guy that her dad wanted to set her up with.

All three of Dwynwen’s wishes were granted and as a mark of thanks, Dwynwen devoted her life to God and opened a convent on Llanddwyn Island, just off the coast of Anglesey. The remains of the church can still be visited today. Along with the convent, the island is also home to Dwynwen’s well. It is said that the sacred fish in Dwynwen’s well can predict whether or not your relationship will succeed. If the fish are active when visiting the well, then it was seen as a sign of a faithful husband. If the fish weren’t active, well you can probably guess, there have been a few guys with some explaining to do over the years...

So if you’re lucky enough to find your true love in Wales, you should probably thank St Dwynwen who has had the back of Welsh lovers since the 5th century. 

5 Ways to Celebrate St Dwynwen’s Day in Swansea

When restrictions are lifted, there are so many ways that you can celebrate St Dwynwen's Day in Wales, with some of the most stunning natural scenery in the UK, you’ll never be short of stunning date locations. However, even Coronavirus restrictions can’t stop love - here are just some ideas to get involved with in 2021:

  1. Go for a walk - Swansea bay provides the perfect backdrop for a romantic walk with a loved one, or a walk and talk with your housemates.

  2. Bring the restaurant to you - Whilst you may not be able to have a romantic candlelit dinner at your favourite restaurant, what you can do is bring the restaurant to you! Prepare a meal together or order in from one of the many restaurants which are currently offering takeaway.

  3. Watch a romantic film in your comfies - Rather than having to get all dressed up, why not grab yourself a sharer sized bag of crisps or a bowl of popcorn, build a comfy space with your quilt and watch your fave romantic films on Netflix.

  4. Have a zoom date - If you don’t live with your loved one, why not get dressed up and have a date via zoom. Agree what takeaway you’re both having beforehand, get a bottle of wine and get back to those first date chats.

  5. Have the big night with pals that Dwynwen needed - Dwynwen didn’t get her big night out with the girls to help her forget Maelon, so why not get together on Zoom and laugh, chat and put the world to rights with your pals, but be careful about wishing for your ex to turn into an ice cube...

Sources: WalesOnline, Visit Wales and Historic UK

Posted 22 Jan 2021