So we all know that Valentines Day is coming up in the not too distant future. But those amongst you who are not Welsh will be forgiven for not knowing that Wales also has it’s own Patron Saint of Lovers which we will celebrate tomorrow, on January the 25th.
The Story of Santes Dwynwen
Dwynwen lived in the 5th century and it is said that she was the most beautiful daughter of Brychan Brycheiniog*. Legend has it that her father had arranged for her to marry but Dwynwen was madly in love with another man, Maelon Dafodrill. She was so upset that she couldn’t marry the man she loved that she prayed to God and begged him to make her forget Maelon.
That night, she was visited by an angel who gave her a potion that would erase all memories of her true love but also turned him into a block of ice. God then gave Dwynwen three wishes. Her first, was that Maelon be thawed. Her second, was that God make all the hopes and dreams of true lovers come true. Her last wish was that she would never get married.
All her wishes were fulfilled and so Dwynwen devoted the rest of her life to God. She founded a convent on Llanddwyn, which is a tidal island just off the west coast of Anglesey (The remains of the convent still stand today). After her death in 465AD, a well on the island, that is named after her, became a place of pilgrimage. Visitors believed that the sacred fish that lived in the well could foretell whether or not their relationship would be happy and whether love and happiness would be theirs.
*Brychan Brycheiniog was said to have 24 daughters and 11 sons!
If you would like to share the love and celebrate Dydd Santes Dwynwen/Saint Dwynwen’s Day with your children why not make a batch of these super simple shortbread biscuits? There is only three (or four) ingredients and makes a very small amount of dough so is ideal for little ones to help!
St Dwynwen’s Day Shortbread Biscuits
Dydd Santes Dwynwen hapus i chi i gyd!
Happy Saint Dwynwen’s Day to you all!