If you find yourself feeling abnormally amorous on the 25th of January, we might be able to save you a trip to the doctors. No, it’s not a worrying hormonal fluctuation or unexpected pregnancy but the Welsh blood you never knew you had. You might think it’s come three weeks too early, but the Welsh answer to St. Valentines falls just one month after Christmas.
At the end of January each year, the Welsh nation celebrate Dwynwen: their patron saint of love, in a lesser-known festival of interesting origin. The story goes that Dwynwen was the prettiest of the astoundingly fertile king Brychan Brycheiniog's twenty-four daughters. She fell in love with a man named Maelon Dafodrill, but her father had pre-arranged for her to marry someone else.
Some versions of the tale here include a sordid twist that we won’t delve into, but wouldn’t be out of place in an original Grimm’s collection. Distraught, Dwynwen prayed to God and asked his help to forget Maelon. An angel visited her in her sleep and gave her a potion to erase her memory of feelings for Maelon and turn him into a block of ice.
God offered Dwynwen three wishes. Her first that Maelon be thawed, the second that God should meet the needs of all lovers and the third that she should never marry. With each of these coming true, Dwynwen devoted her life to God and set up a convent on the island of Llanddwyn, off the coast of Anglesey. The remains of the church can still be seen on the island today along with Dwynwen’s well which has since become a place of pilgrimage for young Welsh lovers since her death in the 5th century.
In fact, a trip to the well may save you money on a private detective. It is believed that the well is home to sacred fish who can detect infidelity; if the fish are swimming during your visit to the well, it is seen as a sign of a faithful husband.
So next time to consider reopening your tinder profile, why not take a pilgrimage to Llanddwyn instead? There are bound to be hordes of newly realised cuckolds and cuckqueens from which to take your pick. But you’ll have to be careful as Llanddwyn is a tidal island and at high tide it becomes cut off from the mainland.
For those already paired up, it is customary to give a ‘love spoon’ as a Santes Dwynwen’s day gift, whatever that may be... Either way, the tradition is still alive with the world’s largest ever (44ft) spoon being carved in 2007. But if you’re all out of love spoons this year, the Victoria Eggs Welsh range makes the perfect gift for your present, future or icebound lover.