Celebrate An Early Valentine’s The Welsh Way

Now we are in 2023, thoughts of buying infinity roses in Christmas or New Year gestures will have passed. But, with February 14th approaching, the most obvious opportunity of the year to deliver the most romantic of gestures is not far away.

However, in Wales there is another opportunity for romantic expression that will take place even earlier in the year - St Dwynwen’s Day on January 25th. This is very much the Welsh version of Valentine’s Day.

St Dwynwen is the Welsh patron saint of lovers, and her story is a truly heart-rending one. Born in the fifth century, she is said to have been the most beautiful of the 24 daughters of Brychan Brycheiniog, who evidently did a lot of loving of his own to achieve such a feat of fecundity.

The story was that she fell in love with a prince, but was not allowed to marry him as she had been betrothed to another. She prayed to forget him, which led to her lover being turned into a block of ice. 

Her further prayers were that the prince should be thawed out, that God would meet the dreams of all other lovers and that she herself would never marry. In the last case, she founded a convent on the island of Llanddwyn off the coast of Anglesey and a well there became a shrine after her death in 465. Legend has it a fish in a well can tell lovers if their relationship will prosper or not.

If you are Welsh, there is clearly no need to wait until February 14th, while anyone from elsewhere might still enjoy a romantic visit to the island and all the lovely coastal and mountain scenery of north Wales.

On the other hand, if you are Scottish you’ll be celebrating Burn’s Night on January 25th with haggis, neeps and tatties, so in your case it may be best to wait until February 14th after all.