With the well-known and highly marketed St Valentine's Day in February, Wales' own love story is celebrated on January 25th, courtesy of St Dwynwen's Day.

As couples look to exchange gifts on St Dwynwen's Day, Wales can lay claim to a lovespoon housed at the National Museum that dates back to 1667, although the tradition dates back long before that.

The fifth century story set in the Brecon Beacons tells of Dwynwen, the prettiest of King Brychan Brycheiniog’s 24 daughters. With the King forbidding Dwynwen to marry her sweetheart, Maelon Dafodrill, Dwynwen flees to nearby woodland, asking God in her prayers for a potion to forget Maelon.

However, the potion, delivered by an angel, sadly turns poor Maelon into a block of ice in error.

The National Wales: The old lighthouse on Ynys Llanddwyn off the coast of Ynys Môn. Photo: Ian Warburton CC BY-SA 2.0The old lighthouse on Ynys Llanddwyn off the coast of Ynys Môn. Photo: Ian Warburton CC BY-SA 2.0

God granted Dwynwen three wishes to rectify the mistake. Dwynwen asked for Maelon to the thawed out; then for the dreams and wishes of all lovers to be granted so they wouldn't experience her heartbreak.

Finally, to spite her father, she wished to never marry. With her wishes granted, Dwynwen dedicated her life to God, becoming a nun and setting up a convent on the island of Llanddwyn off the coast of Ynys Môn.

In a recent survey published by Statista in November 2021, the average age which men marry in Wales is getting later, rising from 27.4 in 1972 to 38.1 in 2018. The average age for women has also increased from 24.7 to 35.8 in the same period.

If you value The National's journalism, help grow our team of reporters by becoming a subscriber.