Happy St Dwynwen’s Day! Dydd Santes Dwynwen hapus i chi gyd

Today is the Welsh Valentine’s Day. So happy St Dwynwen’s Day – the patron saint of Welsh lovers!

She’s not recognised by the Vatican as an ‘official saint’ anymore, but like we care. The story of Dwynwen has dark interpretations, like most old school tales, but there’s a fairly upbeat one that’s told to school children, which is the one we’ll focus on: Dwynwen was the prettiest daughter of 24 born to the Welsh king Brychan Brycheiniog. She fell in love with a man named Maelon Dafodrill, but she was already in an arranged marriage situation, courtesy of her father.

Bummed out by the situation, Dwynwen prayed and asked for help to forget her main squeeze Maelon. An angel came to see her in her sleep and gave her a potion that would erase her memory of feelings for Maelon, and also turn him into a block of ice.

After her dreams came true (poor old Maelon, eh?), Dwynwen devoted her life to God. She set up a convent on the island of Llanddwyn off the coast of Anglesey (the remains of the church are still there, along with a well that is home to sacred fish that can – apparently – predict whether relationships will succeed or fail).

'Porth Twr Mawr' - Ynys Llanddwyn, Anglesey

(Photo: Llanddwyn, Anglesey)

God offered Dwynwen three wishes, so she wished for Maelon to be thawed, that God should meet the needs of all lovers, and that she should never marry.

I’m not quite sure about the third one – I feel like she should have married the face off Maelon and raised loads of tiny Celtic kids running around all over the north!

Anyway, that’s one version of the story that was told when I was at school (there are many other versions that include rape and various other gross things – you can check the  St Dwynwen Wikipedia page for a taste of those).

So happy Welsh Valentine’s today to all of you – happy St Dwynwen’s Day!

Feeling frisky and looking for some Valentine’s fun this year? How about the Mary Bijou Cabaret Bad Romance Social? It takes place on Saturday 13 February at Four Elms on Newport Road and the We Are Cardiff DJs will be spinning some tunes!

Bad Romance Social – buy tickets


Photo: ‘Porth Twr Mawr’ – Ynys Llanddwyn, Anglesey by Kris Williams on Flickr

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