The story of Santes Dwynwen

Happy Diwrnod Santes Dwynwen Splott!

Have you wondered why we, in Wales, have our own equivalent to Valentine’s Day? It’s all down to a lady called Dwynwen and her forbidden love for another.

Thanks to Ms. Rees from the Willows High School Welsh Department, we can learn a little more about our Welsh valentine history…

Diwrnod Santes Dwynwen is considered to be the Welsh equivalent to Valentine’s Day and is celebrated on 25th of January every year. It celebrates Dwynwen, the Welsh saint of lovers.

In the 5th century, Dwynwen fell in love with a man named Maelon
Dafodrill. Maelon returned Dwynwen’s feelings but they could not
be together, for Dwynwen’s father forbade the marriage and her
father had already promised her to someone else.

Distraught by her love for Maelon, Dwynwen ran to the woods in distress and prayed that she would fall out of love with him.

After falling asleep, Dwynwen was visited by an angel, who appeared carrying a sweet potion designed to erase all memory of Maelon, but it turned him into a block of ice.

God then gave three wishes to Dwynwen. First, she wished that Maelon be thawed, second that God met the hopes and dreams of true lovers and third that she should never marry ever.

All three wishes were fulfilled, and as a mark of her thanks, Dwynwen devoted herself to God’s service for the rest of her life.

Dwynwen became a nun, fulfilling her wish to never marry. She left for the island of Anglesey and built a church, which became known as Llanddwyn, literally meaning “Church of Dwynwen”. Its remains can still be
seen today on the island of Llanddwyn, off the coast of Anglesey.

The smaller island also contains Dwynwen’s well, where, allegedly, a sacred fish swims, whose movements predict the future fortunes and relationships of various couples. Another tradition claims that if the water boils while visitors are present, then love and good luck will surely follow.

Dwynwen means, ‘she who leads a blessed life’ and, as well as being the Welsh patron saint of lovers, she’s also the patron saint of sick animals. 

The popularity and celebration of St Dwynwen’s day has increased considerably in recent years, with special events, such as concerts and parties, often held and greetings cards printed. Although still not
as popular as St Valentine’s Day in February, St Dwynwen is certainly becoming better-known among today’s population of Wales.

Here is a link to a website where you can download a free St. Dwynwen’s Day card to colour in and pass on to make someone smile.

Willows High Pupils can send in their designs to
Kelly.Bubbins@willows.cardiff.sch.uk or send in a photo of hands making a heart shape for a Willows community collage. The results will be displayed
on the Willows Twitter page!

Tag @Inksplott in your Diwrnod Santes Dwynwen pics and posts!