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Why Is Welsh Valentine's Day Different and How to Celebrate

Zoe Kramer January 24, 2023

Most of the world celebrates love on Valentine’s day on February 14th, but ‘Welsh Valentine’s Day,’ or St. Dwynwen’s Day, is its own holiday altogether. St. Dwynwen’s day is celebrated slightly earlier in the year, on January 25th. It’s an occasion to celebrate the Welsh patron saint of lovers, and to show a little extra care for your loved ones. Here is why Welsh Valentine’s Day is different and a few ways you can celebrate this holiday.

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The Story of St. Dwynwen

While St. Valentine is well-known for having secretly married couples when the emperor outlawed marriage for young men, as the legend goes, St. Dwynwen represents love through a different story.

Dwynwen was one of the daughters of King Brychan. The legend goes that she fell in love with a prince called Maelon Dafodrill, but her father wanted to arrange a marriage for her instead. She ran away into the woods and prayed to be released from love. An angel gave her a potion, and once she drank it, Maelon turned into ice. Then, God appeared to her and granted her three wishes. She wished first that Maelon would be thawed, second that God would help all true lovers, and third that she should never be married. She became a nun, and established a convent on an island off the coast of Anglesey. Supposedly the fish in the well there could determine whether a couple would be happy or not, so it became a popular travel destination.

It’s a tragic story, but one that highlights the value of true love and devotion. And it’s one that is powerful enough that people still tell it to this day.

How To Celebrate This Day

There are lots of ways to celebrate St. Dwynwen’s Day or ‘Welsh Valentine’s Day.’ If you have a loved one that lives somewhat far away, you can send them a St.Dwynwen’s Day card to let them know you’re thinking of them. Another popular way to celebrate, similar to St. Valentine’s Day, is through a variety of heart-shaped food and decorations. You can bake sweet treats like heart cookies or cakes, or opt for something savoury like heart-shaped pizza. There really aren’t any rules for how to celebrate the holiday. However, it is a great opportunity to share some time with those you love and let them know how much you care about them.

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Zoe Kramer is a full-time staff writer on Freshered. She graduated from Cardiff University in 2022 with a BA in Journalism, Media and English Literature. During her time in university, she worked for her student newspaper as well as completing an internship with a book publisher. She has also written and continues to write book and theatre reviews. She is excited to now be pursuing a career as a journalist and learning something new every day. In particular, she loves writing about student life, books, the Internet, and travel. Originally from the United States, she is enjoying living abroad in the UK.