Valentine’s may sometimes seem like just another commercial holiday. Still, there’s no denying that our loved ones enjoy being treated on this special day!
But did you know that in Wales, they get a head-start on Valentine’s Day by celebrating their own patron Saint of love, Dwynwen?
Dwynwen (pronounced ‘Dwin-wen’) was a 5th century princess and the most beautiful of King Brychan Brycheiniog’s 24 daughters, or so the story goes.
But when she fell in love, it wasn’t to be. The King had planned for her to marry a prince, and disliked her choice – local lad Maelon Dafodrill.
Distraught Dwynwen fled to the woods and prayed to forget her love for Maelon. There, she was visited by an angel carrying a ‘sweet potion’ that would erase all memory of her beloved and turn him into a block of ice. She was then granted three wishes.
She wished first that Maelon be thawed, and second that God meet the hopes and dreams of true lovers. Her third wish was that she should never marry.
Dwynwen became a nun and devoted herself to God’s service for the rest of her life. She built Llanddwyn church off the coast of Anglesey, and its remains can still be seen today.
Sounds like a normal Christian fable, right? Wrong!
Three wishes? A magical potion? A man being turned to a block of ice? Gordon White of Rune Soup reckons it’s more likely that ‘the princess got a bit trolled’. He says: ‘Like all useful legends, Saint Dwynwen’s story is refracted as through a diamond.’
Dwynwen’s story, like that of many ancient British and Irish saints (notably Saint Brigid), is probably a mix of religion, myth and folklore – which would explain how she also became a healer and protector of animals. Dwynwen was probably a faery queen who was integrated into the early Christian myth of Britain. Without those early Christians, among the only writers in the land, we would know a lot less about ancient British myth!
3 Of the best – Celtic hip flask gifts
In honour of Dwynwen, your beloved and our diverse British heritage, here are three of our favourite pocket hip flask gifts for Valentine’s Day:
- For a touch of luxury, our shiny stainless steel hip flask with a Celtic badge makes an ideal gift – especially if you add a satin-lined presentation box!
- This stainless steel flask with a Celtic knot design in traditional pewter is simply beautiful.
- And this Celtic pattern pewter hip flask has a subtle stamp and a stunning mirror-finish.
Small is beautiful and with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, you can’t go wrong with one of our pocket hip flask gifts!
3 Ways to celebrate St Valentine’s Day
- Do something thoughtful for your beloved. Cook a delicious meal or find a little gift that’s meaningful, even if it’s not grand.
- Fill one of our Welsh or Celtic Hip Flasks with a ‘sweet potion’ of your own. Stick to a favourite tipple and not a wish-granting potion, though. Wishes can be dangerous.
- If you have a broken heart, appeal to Dwynwen for some relief. Treat yourself to the meal, the flowers and the gifts. Either that, or join a monastery/start a nunnery…