January 17, 2022 4 min read

Santes Dwynwen - St Dwynwen's Day

Santes Dwynwen or St Dwynwen's Day is Wales' own version of St Valentine’s Day and is celebrated each 25th January in Wales (3 weeks before Valentine’s Day). In 2022, it is on Tuesday 25th January and is the most romantic day in the Welsh calendar. It is celebrated with the giving and receiving of cards and presents and by saying "I Love you" in Welsh, "Rwy'n dy garu di". 

Santes Dwynwen’s Day Greetings

Promote Wales, Promote Love, Celebrate St Dwynwen's Day!!!

All good patriotic Welshmen and women should be celebrating St Dwynwen's day by saying “I love you in Welsh”, namely “Rwy'n dy garu di”. Other greetings are “Dydd Santes Dwynwen Hapus” or “Happy Saint Dwynwen’s Day”.

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St  Dwynwen is the Welsh patron saint of lovers and she is the Welsh version of St Valentine. The popularity of St Dwynwen's Day has increased massively in recent years so why wait until St Valentine's Day (14th February) to make your romantic feelings known, when you can wish your loved one 'Rwy’n dy garu di ' (I love you) three weeks earlier? You can show your proud Welsh heritage and point of difference by celebrating St Dwynwen's Day as opposed to Valentines Day!!

Who was Santes Dwynwen?

Her name, Dwynwen means "she who leads a blessed life". Her home was in what is now the Brecon Beacons National Park area of Wales. She lived during the 5th century and was, according to legend one of, if not the prettiest of Brychan Brycheiniog's twenty four to thirty six daughters, yes 24 to 36, depending on which story you believe. Anyway, the story is that Dwynwen fell in love with a guy called Prince Maelon Dyfodrill, but her father had already promised that she should marry someone else. Dwynwen fell asleep and was visited by an angel who appeared carrying a sweet potion designed to erase all memory of Maelon and turn him into an ice block.

Santes Dwynwen | St Dwynwen's Day - Welsh Valentine's Day - Llanddwyn Island - Anglesey - Ynys Mon

Distraught, Dwynwen fled to the woods, where she pleaded with God to make her forget Maelon. God responded to Dwynwen’s grief and then granted her three wishes. Firstly, she wished that Maelon be thawed, secondly that God meet the hopes and dreams of true lovers and third that she should never marry. All three of her wishes were fulfilled and to give her thanks Dwynwen devoted herself to God's service for the rest of her life. She became a nun who founded a convent on Ynys Llanddwyn (Llanddwyn Island) on the west coast of Ynys Mon, the island of Anglesey.

Llanddwyn Island and St Dwynwen

Llanddwyn is a tidal island is near to the village of Niwbwrch (Newborough) and the beautiful Newborough Forest, situated off the West coast of Ynys Mon, Anglesey. The views are spectacular: across the water, the peaks of Snowdonia rise up from the Menai Strait and the Llŷn (often mis-spelt as Lleyn) Peninsula points all the way to Ireland, whose Wicklow hills can be seen on a clear day. So maybe it is unsurprising that the island is also the setting for one of Wales’ greatest love stories.

Santes Dwynwen and Ynys Llanddwyn - Llanddwyn Island - Llanddwyn and Newborough Beaches - Menai Strait in the distance

Llanddwyn Island contains two lighthouses, a number of cottages and is reached, only on foot, by the beautiful Llanddwyn and Newborough beaches. The two lighthouse towers still stand at the western end of Ynys Llanddwyn. The newer of the two, resembling an Anglesey windmill tower, is disused. Nearby are cottages built for pilots who would board ships to guide them through the difficult waters of the Menai Strait. A lifeboat was stationed here from 1840. Over just seven days in December 1852, the lifeboat rescued 36 sailors from three separate wrecks: Athena (Greek), Die Krone (Prussian) and Juno (Russian). 

In 1879, a plain cross was erected in Dwynwen’s memory, followed by the Celtic cross in 1903.  

Dwynwen died in 465AD and on Llanddwyn Island (Ynys Llanddwyn) a well was named after her as a place of pilgrimage. Visitors to the well believed the sacred fish that lived in the well could predict whether or not their relationship would be happy. When visiting and looking into the well if the fish is seen swimming around and lively then it is a sign of a faithful and devoted husband! Besides from the well, there is also Crochan Llanddwyn, meaning Llanddwyn’s cauldron, which is a small wishing well that is located between Llanddwyn Island and Newborough. According to folklore, if the water of the well boils while visitors are present, love and good luck will follow.

About FelinFach

Our company, FelinFach Natural Textiles is located in the heart of the Preseli area of Pembrokeshire near to Boncath. We design Welsh blankets and the iconic Welsh Tapestry blankets which are traditionally woven at Welsh mills. We also design and make natural hand dyed yarn, cotton, silk and wool scarves and other handmade products, all available in our yarn store and shop. We also offer Welsh tartansSheepskin Rugs, Gift Cards and tools and books for crafters and knitters - Cocoknits, Laine, Amirisu and Making to name a few! Lastly, craft courses on hand dyeing with 100% natural dyes in the purpose designed FelinFach Dye Studio. We are a proud supporter of the Campaign for Wool, All Things Wales and Global Welsh.

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Last update 7th January 2022