Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Dydd Santes Dwynwen

Today, the 25th January, is known as Dydd Santes Dwynwen (Saint Dwynwens' Day) in Wales. Saint Dwynwen is the Welsh patron saint of lovers.

St. Dwynwen was one of 24 daughters of a 5th century Welsh King, Brychan Brycheiniog, of Brechon. The beautiful and virtuous St. Dwynwen fell in love with a Welsh prince, Maelon Dafodrill, who intended to wed her, but their marriage was not to be. Maelon spurned her when she refused to sleep with him. As St.Dwynwen distanced herself from Maelon, his bitterness toward her became increasingly unbearable. Dwynwen was so upset that she fled to the woods where she begged God to make her forget him. She fell asleep and in her dreams was administered a potion designed to erase all memory of Maelon and turn him into a block of ice. Again she prayed to God, and was given three wishes: the first was that Maelon be unfrozen; the second was that she should never wish to marry again; and the third was that God should answer all requests made by her on behalf of lovers, so that they succeed in finding happiness through the fulfillment of their love or being cured of their passion. God granted all her wishes. She committed her life to God and founded a convent on what is now Llanddwyn island, just off the Isle of Anglesey (Ynys Môn).

Her holy well, a fresh-water spring called Ffynnon Dwynwen, became a place of pilgrimage for lovers. Visitors to the well believed that the sacred fish or eels that lived in the well could foretell whether or not their relationship would be happy and whether love and happiness would be theirs. The ruins of Llanddwyn chapel, can still be seen, and there is also a Latin cross dedicated to St. Dwynwen, in Llanddwyn.

"Nothing wins hearts like cheerfulness" - the words of Dwynwen

So why wait until St Valentine's Day to make your romantic feelings known, when you can wish your loved one "dwi'n dy garu di" (I love you) three weeks earlier?

The story varies substantially but the outcome is the same. Some spoilt bird fancies a bloke, she obviously doesn't listen to her TWENTY THREE sisters advice and gets all surprised when he wants to shag her. She goes all frigid and runs away, (to the woods? Doesn't she have a room to lock herself in or something?) cries a bit then asks God to turn bloke into a block of ice - a slight over-reaction perhaps? Bloke had obviously spiked her drink with Rohypnol (administered potion in her sleep... yeah right). She finally comes round and sees sense, she thaws him out before going and living on an island with a load of nuns. Why the HELL are there eels in this story? MAGIC eels?

Iesu Mawr.


At 1:16 pm, Blogger Rhys Wynne thought it was best to say...

I live on Ynys Llanddwyn for six weeks with my girlfriend a few years ago. I'd like to say it was some romantic gesture on my behalf, but we'd both graduated and couldn't be asked to find work, so we stayed there as volunteer wardens, spending the day drinking tea and smoking with my mate who was a paid warden.

At 2:51 pm, Blogger Curly thought it was best to say...

But did you see any Eels while you were drinking tea and smoking?

I wanted to get down to Cardiff today (mainly to see Eleri Sion) but work got in the way again.

At 4:46 pm, Blogger Aarti thought it was best to say...

You Welsh people, odd or what (as I pretend not to be Welsh myself and emphasise my Indian-ness)

At 10:32 am, Blogger Neal thought it was best to say...

Eels? Were all of the other animals used up in other stories of folklore? Nothing says 'romance' like a magic eel.

At 8:03 pm, Blogger deanne thought it was best to say...

How come virtually all Welsh words/names sound like they've come right out of Lord of the Rings??!

At 8:24 am, Blogger Astrid thought it was best to say...

Oh, I love stories like this. Do you know of a good book in English which tells these tales? And how many times in your life have you been frozen by confused ladies?

At 12:30 pm, Blogger Curly thought it was best to say...

ARV - EVERY country has stories like this, don't they...?

Neal - I agree. Love is a slippery water dwelling creature.

Deanne - Interestingly enough, Tolkein based Elvish (The language that Liv tyler etc use) on Welsh. So there ya go!

Astrid - I don't know if this particular story is told but you might like the Mabinogion.

At 12:56 am, Blogger Me Over Here thought it was best to say...

I liked your summary much better than the story itself. You have a way with words, eh?

At 10:22 am, Blogger Astrid thought it was best to say...

Thanks, Curly, I'll go check that out!

At 4:02 pm, Blogger Me Over Here thought it was best to say...

Curly, do you remember me telling you about that bodily harm that would ensue if you didn't post soon?

Well, it still stands...

Texans are demanding.


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