January 25th is Dydd Santes Dwynwen. (St Dwynwen’s Day). Santes Dwynwen is the equivalent to Valentine’s Day, the Welsh saint of love.
This is the tale of Dwynwen. Dwynwen fell in love with a guy called Maelon. He was in love with her too, but for some reason they couldn’t be together! There are various versions stating why they couldn’t be together. One version suggests that her father was against the marriage, and that he had already promised her to somebody else. Poor Dwynwen was in a bit of a state, and ran to the woods in distress. She prayed that God would erase her feelings for Maelon. In the wood an angel appeared carrying a potion to try to erase all memory of Maelon and turn him into a block of ice.
God gave Dwynwen three wishes. Her first wish was for Maelon to be thawed, the second was that God would help all lovers meet their dreams, and the third was that Dwynwen herself would never marry.
Her wishes were fulfilled, and from that point she devoted herself to God’s service and became a nun. She left for the Isle of Anglesey and built a church on an island (Llanddwyn) “church of Dwynwen”. The church ruins can be seen there today as well as the well, where it is told a sacred fish swims. According to legend the movement of the fish can depict if relationships will succeed or not.
The well is a place of pilgrimage for young Welsh lovers since Dwynwen’s death in the 5th century. The Welsh celebrate Santes Dwynwen’s day by sending cards , flowers and gifts to our loved ones.
If you believe the story or not, Ynys Llanddwyn Island is a magical island with its lighthouse, church ruins and well, has lovely views towards the Snowdonia mountains and the Llyn Peninsula, full of wildlife and fauna, private sandy beaches which attract thousand of tourists throughout the year. And it’s on one of our walks from Malltraeth to Llyn Rhos Ddu.