St Dwynwen’s Day – 25th January

Knitted cushion cover
© F H Powell 2016

Most people will recognise St Valentine’s day as the day associated with lovers. But in Wales the same is true of St Dwynwen’s Day as St Dwynwen is the Welsh patron saint of lovers.

St Dwynwen is not recognised by the Vatican as being an official saint, but her popularity within Wales, and especially in her native Anglesey, means that her saint’s day is still fully celebrated.

The history goes back to a 5th century Welsh king called Brychan Brycheiniog who with his 3 wives had 24 children. One of these was Dwynwen who fell in love with Maelon Dafodrill only to learn that her father had promised her hand in marriage to another. Given she may no longer marry her true love she prays for help in forgetting Maelon. An angel visited her in her sleep and gave her a potion, which Maelon drinks and turns him into a block of ice. She had three more wishes: that Maelon be thawed, that God protects all lovers and that she remained unmarried. She then retreated to the island of Llanddwyn, off the west coast of Anglesey, where she became a hermit until her death in 460 AD.

Her feast day is celebrated on 25th January each year. Dydd santes dwynwen hapus, as is said in Welsh.

If you wish to give your loved one a Welsh gift on St Dwynwen’s Day, then why not knit our Cariad Cushion cover (Welsh for Love), as shown above.