In all cultures there is, and always has been, a god, deity or saint to symbolise romantic love. This even includes the little principality of Wales.
The angel gave her a potion that turned Maelon into a block of ice and three wishes:
First she wished for Maelon to be thawed.
Second she wished for God to protect all true lovers.
Third she wished never to be married.
To ensure that she never married, Dwynwen became a nun and lived a quiet life on the small island of Ynys Llanddwyn, which is off the coast of Anglesey in north Wales. Here she had a church built so that she could worship God and live a holy life. Dwynwen also cared for animals so people in Wales pray to her when they have imminent visits to the vet with their pets. Dwynwen died on the island around 460 AD, never having been married.
There has been a surge in her popularity over recent years where the Welsh have celebrated her feast day of 25 January by sending cards, flowers and gifts to loved ones. No doubt some candle-lit dinners as well.
The remains of her church still exist on the small island, where, for a while at least, pilgrims visited during the Middle Ages. Unfortunately sand storms destroyed a lot of the church and during the Reformation pilgrimages were not encouraged. There is a well that, unusually, has fish swimming about in it. It was thought that the fish represented the destinies of lovers so for a while people visited there instead. The Feast of Dwynwen has been recorded on calendars during the fifteenth century.
In 1903 a Celtic cross was erected next to the ruins of the church and in the 1960s a student at Bangor University decided to send out cards similar to those of Saint Valentine's Day. So this is where we are today.
Although I won't be receiving any Saint Dwynwen's Day cards, I take the time to think about the love I have for this little country (or principality if you want to be pedantic) and celebrate by eating Welsh cakes and Welsh rarebit. Yum.
Happy Saint Dwynwen's Day.