Although barely known outside Wales, every year on 25 January we celebrate St Dwynwen’s Day, the Welsh patron saint of lovers.
The story of Dwynwen dates back to the 5th century, when Dwynwen fell in love with a Prince called Maelon Dafodrill. Her father, King Brychan Brycheiniog, was determined that she would marry another man.
Dwynwen was devastated that she couldn’t marry her true love and begged God to make her forget Maelon. An angel visited Dwynwen and gave her a potion. The potion was supposed to make her have no memory of Maelon and turned him into a block of ice.
Dwynwen was then granted three wishes. Firstly she wished for Maelon to be thawed (I would have personally left him as a block of ice, but that’s why Dwynwen is a saint and I’m not!), secondly that God meet the hopes and dreams of true lovers and thirdly she wished that she would never marry.
Dwynwen devoted the rest of life to God’s service, founding a convent on the island of Llanddwyn. You can still see the remains of the church on the island today.
On the island, there is a well where, according to legend, a sacred fish swims. It is said that the fish can predict the happiness of relationships. Visitors still go to the well today, hoping that the water will boil, meaning that love and good luck will follow them.
We are a romantic country – we also celebrate St Valentine’s day on 14 February!