25 Jan 2011

Dydd Santes Dwynwen Hapus!

{ Source: D. C. Perkins,
Lovespoons from Wales (Swansea, 1989) }
Or, Happy St Dwynwen's Day!

Today is the Welsh equivalent of St Valentines Day, dedicated to Dwynwen (pronounced Doyn-win ... kinda), a woman who lived in the 5th Century and was reputed to be the most beautiful of Celtic King Brychan Brycheiniog's 25 daughters.

There are several different versions of the story, mainly due to the Bards preference for oral tradition, but they all agree that Dwynwen fell in love with a prince named Maelon Dafodrill. Some versions say her Father refused to consent to her marriage to Maelon because he had pledged her to another. Some say that when Maelon found out she was pledged to another he rejected her and/ or raped her. They all agree that the two lovers were parted and that Dwynwen begged God to make her forget him.

The stories say that she was visited by an Angel who granted her wish, but who also turned Maelon in to a block ice. Dwynwen was given three wishes and she asked that Maelon be thawed, that she never marry and that God meet the hopes and dreams of true lovers. As a mark of her thanks she gave her life to God and founded a Convent at Llanddwyn.The well located there was named after Dwynwen after her death and is believed to have prophetic fish (or eels) who can tell you if your relationship will be a happy one. It is still a place of pilgrimage to this day and it has become tradition to exchange Lovespoons with one's partner as a symbol of love.

Oh, and if you thought 25 daughters was a lot, Brychan was rumoured to have 11 sons as well. In fact, some stories place his number of children at around 50 (it's a wonder he got around to any Kinging)! 

Thanks for stopping by,

1 comment:

  1. 25 daughters and many sons! Don't you wish there had been reality TV in Brychan Brycheiniog's day? :)
    Dydd Santes Dwynwen Hapus!


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