Tuesday, 25 January 2011

The Welsh Valentine: Happy St Dwynwen's Day!

A St Dwynwen's Day Card
As the wonderful blog A Reluctant Sinner states:

St Dwynwen's Day (Diwrnod Santes Dwynwen) used to be kept with great joy and merriment during the Middle Ages, though fell out of fashion, for obvious reasons, after the Reformation.

Pop by his blog to read the full story.

It always saddens me that the Welsh - who ensured the survival of Catholicism and Monasticism via the conversion of Ireland by St Patrick and others - were conned into embracing Protestantism via the publishing of the Bible in Welsh (by the same forces who, before and since, sought to make Welsh a museum-piece).

The dour nature of Protestantism just does not fit in with the Welsh national character. We love songs, tales, heritage, traditions and in that sense are far more like the Catholic Irish than the dour Protestant characteristics of suppressing song, Saints and pilgrimage.

If any other evidence is needed, the National Museum of Wales's site says:

Dwynwen lived during the 5th century and was, by all accounts, one of the prettiest of Brychan Brycheiniog's 24 daughters. 

Did you ever here of a Protestant with 24 daughters? That's positively Catholic! ;-)

Brychan Brycheiniog, was the King of Brecon and again referring to the National Museum of Wales, his part-Irish dynasty left a lasting legacy on Welsh history and Welsh princes. You can see news on the Museum's excavation of the King's artificial island palace here.
Llanddwyn Island today

The place on Anglesey where the Welsh Saint built her hermitage became known as Llanddwynwen (today it's Llanddwyn), literally the "Church of Dwynwen" along with all the many Holy places throughout Wales with the prefix Llan.

Her Holy Island became so popular as a place of pilgrimage that a new church was built on the site in Tudor times, the remains of which can still be seen on the island today.

So Dydd Santes Dwynwen Hapus (Happy Saint Dwynwen's Day) to you all.

 "Nothing wins hearts like cheerfulness" - St Dwynwen.

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