St Dwynwen’s Day, also known as Dydd Santes Dwynwen in Welsh, is celebratedon the 25th of January each year, a day often known as the ‘Welsh Valentine’s Day’.
The Tale of a Welsh Princess
St Dwynwen, or Santes Dwynwen in Welsh, was a fourth-century Welsh princess whose tale unfolds against the backdrop of the picturesque of our very own backyard Bannau Brycheiniog, the Brecon Beacons National Park. Dwynwen, facing romantic misfortunes, chose a path of solitude and became a nun. Her selfless prayers sought blessings for true lovers, hoping they would find better fortune than she did in matters of the heart.
The story of how St Dwynwen became the Welsh patron saint of lovers is both enchanting and poignant. Dwynwen, the most beautiful among King Brychan Brycheiniog’s 24 daughters, fell in love with a local lad named Maelon Dafodrill. However, her father had already arranged her marriage to another prince. In the face of this heart-wrenching news, Maelon reacted badlly, leading Dwynwen to seek solace in the woods, where she wept and prayed for divine intervention.
Her prayers were answered in the form of an angel, who offered her a sweet potion to ease her pain. Unbeknownst to her, the potion turned Maelon into a block of ice. In gratitude for the divine intervention, Dwynwen was granted three wishes. Her first wish was for Maelon to be thawed; the second, for God to bless all true lovers; and the third, that she would never marry. To fulfill her newfound purpose, Dwynwen became a nun and established a convent on the serene Llanddwyn Island, a beautiful sanctuary on Anglesey. Her name, Santes Dwynwen, translates to ‘she who leads a blessed life.’
As we approach St Dwynwen’s Day, let’s reflect on the enduring charm of this Welsh love tradition. It serves as a poignant reminder of the power of love, resilience in the face of heartbreak, and the hope for enduring happiness for true lovers.
Embrace Romance on St Dwynwen’s Day in Wales
While it may not be universally observed, the tradition is gaining popularity, especially among Welsh speakers. The beauty of this celebration lies in its inclusivity – you don’t need to be fluent in Welsh or even Welsh by origin to partake in the love-filled festivities.
Why not surprise your loved one with a special St Dwynwen’s Day treat? Perhaps a stay with us at Nant Ddu Lodge & Spa? A delicious meal, or a spa treatment?
If you are not ready to celebrate this wonderful Welsh day of romance just yet, there’s always St Valentine’s next month!