With a new year upon us, many people will have been making resolutions, but the truth is that the first month of the year can be challenging for reasons beyond idealistic pledges to get fitter or take up a new hobby.

Quite simply, it can all feel very dull, dark and cold, with the Christmas lights coming down and no major celebrations to look forward to until Valentine’s Day arrives in February.

However, that is to reckon without the events of January 25th in Wales.

While our Scottish friends will be celebrating Burns Night with the Haggis, Neeps and Tatties and a wee dram, the Welsh will be celebrating St Dwynen’s Day.

St Dwynen is no longer officially recognised as a saint by the Vatican, but that doesn’t stop this being a day of love, and the perfect date to buy handmade Welsh love spoons as a gift.

The story goes that St Dwynen, who hailed from Anglesey in the 5th century, was the most beautiful of the 24 daughters of King Brychan Brycheiniog. She was pledged to be married, but was conflicted because she was in love with another man called Maelon. An alternative tradition holds that she had no wish to marry and rebuffed Maelon’s advances.

Her prayer for a way out was provided through an angelic visitation, which came with a potion to erase any personal desire for love and turn Maelon into a block of ice.

Dwynen then became a nun with a church established on the tidal island of Llanddwyn, the remains of which still exist, and dedicated her time to helping others find love. The church’s well is said to contain two fish and when a couple visits, a pair of active fish is seen as a sign of a faithful husband.

While some couples might want to mark the date by heading down to the island at low tide to look for lively fish, others may decide to stay warm and cosy indoors, leaving all that cold January iciness to poor old Maelon and presenting their beloved with a love spoon to mark this most Welsh of occasions.

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