Dydd Santes Dwynwen 2017, 25 January, Dydd Santes Dwynwen Cards

Dydd Santes Dwynwen Hapus 2017

St Dwynwen's Day

To help celebrate St Dwynwen’s Day, we’ve got a beautifully illustrated card you can send to your sweetheart.

There’s one version that can be printed (just print it out in colour on A4 paper – fold, then fold again), or an image that can be embedded in emails (for those of you that like your love letters the electronic way).


Much of Welsh history is based on stories and songs which were traditionally passed on by word of mouth. As such, the original tale has become mixed with elements of folktales and Celtic stories, and so there are a number variations on the tale.

In the 5th Century Dwynwen fell in love with Maelon Dafodrill. Maelon returned her feelings but for an undetermined reason, they could not be together. Three hypotheses are that a) Maelon raped Dwynwen despite her wish to remain celibate until after marriage, b) her father forbade the marriage, or c) her father had already promised her to someone else. Dwynwen, distraught by her love for Maelon, prays to fall out of love with him.

After falling asleep, or possibly while still awake in a woods she had run to in her distress, Dwynwen was visited by an angel, who appeared carrying a sweet potion designed to erase all memory of Maelon and turn him into a block of ice. God then gave three wishes to Dwynwen. First she wished that Maelon be thawed, second that God meet the hopes and dreams of true lovers and third that she should never marry. All three were fulfilled, and as a mark of her thanks, Dwynwen devoted herself to God's service for the rest of her life.

Who was St Dwynwen?

A 4th-century Welsh princess who lived in what is now the Brecon Beacons National Park. Dwynwen was unlucky in love, so she became a nun and prayed that true lovers have better luck than she did. We celebrate St Dwynwen’s Day – 25 January – in much the same way as people mark St Valentine’s Day on 14 February.

Does everyone celebrate St Dwynwen’s Day in Wales?

Not everyone, but it’s becoming increasingly popular, especially among Welsh speakers. But you don’t have to be Welsh-speaking (or even Welsh) to join in the love-fest. You have our total blessing to surprise your loved one with a special St Dwynwen’s Day treat – like a weekend of Welsh passion at one of these wildly romantic hotels, or a lovesome twosome at one of these amorous hot-spots.  Or for the ultimate amatory adventure, make a pilgrimage to St Dwynwen’s Church at Llanddwyn Island on Anglesey.

Children's versions

This version of the story is generally told to younger children, usually in primary school or nursery as it is generally considered the most appropriate for children.

Dwynwen was the beautiful daughter of Brychan Brycheiniog, who was said to have had eleven sons and twenty-four daughters (although these figures vary greatly, to the extent of suggesting he had over fifty children). She met and fell madly in love with a man called Maelon, and he reciprocated her feelings. She asked her father if she could marry Maelon but Brychan disliked Maelon and refused to give his permission. Maelon begged, as did Dwynwen, but Brychan would not relent and Maelon was forced to leave. Dwynwen was so upset that she ran into the forest. There, she met an angel in a dream who granted her the position of the Saint of Love.

A visit to Llanddwyn Island

It’s worth visiting Llanddwyn at any time of year, and not just on 25 January. It’s one of the most beautiful, and certainly the most romantic, spots in Wales. You’ll find it on the southwest corner of Anglesey, just beyond the village of Newborough.  Here are three good reasons to visit:

1.It’s very pretty. Llanddwyn’s Blue Flag beach is backed by dunes and a forest that’s home to red squirrels, and also a huge roost of ravens (which mate for life, appropriately).  The whole area is a nature reserve, with stunning views across the Menai Strait to the mountains of Snowdonia.

2.Llanddwyn Island is actually a peninsula that’s only very rarely cut off by the highest tides. Walk out onto the headland and you’ll find two lighthouses, a couple of pilot’s cottages (which become a visitor centre in the summer hols), and the picturesque ruins of St Dwynwen’s Church. This is built on the site of the nunnery she founded in the 5th century, and she’s said to be buried here.

3.There are several wells and springs on the island, including Merddyn Cil (Merlin’s Well) and Ffynnon Dafaden (whose waters are said to cure warts – which isn’t very romantic, admittedly). Most importantly for lovers, there’s Dwynwen’s Well, which is said to be home to eels who can predict whether your relationship is going to be a success.
And if a beautiful island with magical eels isn’t already the ideal recipe for romance, then remember St Dwynwen’s most famous saying: ‘Nothing wins hearts like cheerfulness.’ 

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