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Happy St Dwynwen's Day

World's Biggest LovespoonToday in Wales is St Dwynwen's Day and all over Wales people will be buying gifts and cards for their loved ones as they celebrate the Welsh version of Valentine's Day.

The history of St Dwynwen is told on the Museum Wales website:

The story of Dwynwen dates from the 5th century.  The story goes that Dwynwen fell in love with Maelon Dafodrill, but unfortunately her father had already arranged that she should marry someone else. Maelon was so outraged that he raped Dwynwen and left her.

In her grief Dwynwen fled to the woods, where she begged God to make her forget Maelon. After falling asleep, Dwynwen was visited by an angel, who appeared carrying a sweet potion designed to erase all memory of Maelon and turn him into a block of ice.

God then gave three wishes to Dwynwen.  First she wished that Maelon be thawed, second that God meet the hopes and dreams of true lovers and third that she should never marry. All three were fulfilled, and as a mark of her thanks, Dwynwen devoted herself to God's service for the rest of her life.

If you're looking for an ideal gift to give someone special today then how about a traditional Welsh lovespoon. Traditionally the wooden spoon was given by a man to a lady as a token of his affection. He would carve the spoon from a single piece of wood and was considered an early form of an engagement ring.

The spoon usually contained a number of symbols which all had different meanings. These could include a horseshoe for luck, bells for marriage, hearts for love and a lock for security. Caged balls are said to indicate the number of children the couple would have.

The tradition continues today, although we're more likely to cheat and buy the spoons from a craft shop rather than make them ourselves.

What is believed to be the oldest surviving spoon, dating from the 17th century is at the St Fagans National History Museum near Cardiff while the world's biggest is at the Ffwrwm Arts Centre at Caerleon.

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