Monday, January 25, 2010

Happy St. Dwynwen's Day!

Today is St Dwynwen's day, the day when all Welshmen valiant and true, should offer unto their love a leek as a symbol of their devotion. (I made that bit up.) Dwynwen is the Welsh patron saint of lovers. I've written about her before (in 2007 I believe) but, in brief, she had one of those doomed love affairs that always feature in these stories.

She fell in love with a handsome young prince named Maelon but her father had already promised her hand to another. Dwynwen was so upset that she asked God to hep her forget her true love. In answer God sent an angel with a potion to make her forget - and to turn Maelon into a block of ice. (Which seems jolly harsh as it was hardly his fault. And rather ungod-like as well.)

Then God, rather like the genie in the lamp, gave Dwynwen three wishes. She wished that Maelon be thawed, that God meet the hopes and dreams of true lovers, and that she should never marry. (Which seems like a waste of wishes. Why not wish that she be relieved of the promise to marry another and marry Maelon instead? It makes me think she didn't really want to marry him at all, but just fancied the idea of being heartbroken.)

As a mark of her thanks, Dwynwen devoted herself to God's service for the rest of her life. She sounds like a very confused young woman to me.

Anyway, she founded a convent on Llanddwyn, off the west coast of Anglesey, where a well named after her became a place of pilgrimage after her death in 465AD. Allegedly the sacred fish or eels that live in the well can foretell whether or not a relationship will survive.

So if you want to know if your love is true, no need to sleep with orange peel under your pillow; simply pay a visit to Llanddwyn and ask the fish.


Lia said...

Well, well what a confused young lady she was. Sounds to me like she was in love with the idea of being in love.
Thank you for sharing that with us all.
But a leek!
Did your husband give you a leek?
Much love

Leslie: said...

If Lorne calls me during the day today, I'll ask him to bring home a leek (I won't tell him why! LOL) This is quite a story and I agree with your reasoning about it.

NitWit1 said...

I love this story or legend or whatever it is. Poor misguided maiden.

If I needed to ask the fishes to would be a very long trip for me. I think I'll try the orange peel trick.

And i'm not found of leeks.

Devonshire Dumpling said...

Happy St. Dwynwotsits and may legends live happily ever after.