St Dwynwen: Time To Ditch Valentine’s!
What a wretched thing Valentine’s Day is. No shortage of pressure, pink and red daubed over ceilings and shop fronts, and a headache inducing level of expectation of loved ones (i.e. male partners) to lavish gifts of an expected level of quality, or produce acts of enforced passion equivalent only to that which Hollywood can provide, all because some Saint did, well, what did they do now? It’s almost as irksome that the amount of hype that is poured over the 14th of February, is only matched by the level of ignorance shown towards the Saint in question – who, for argument sake, is at best a mismatch of varying martyrs, none of whom have any connection to romance or miraculous acts of love. So, we pawn ourselves to the whim of Clinton Cards et al and the corporate love machine, to burn our pockets in devotion to one or other saintly figures who themselves had nothing to do with the movements of the heart; great, how very romantic.
It does not have to be this way though, and there is an opportunity to turn our backs and pockets on the commercial beast that is Valentine, and embrace a much more appropriate Saint’s day, that of St Dwynwen. The story of St Dwynwen can be found in a number of locations, but it seems appropriate to direct readers to the St Fagans National Museum account of her life story: http://www.museumwales.ac.uk/en/faq/stdwynwen. In short, the story of Dwynwen is one of self sacrifice in the name of love, in the hope that God would see to the realisation of the hopes of true lovers. It is a story that harks of everything that Valentine’s, we are told, should be about, but of course, as we all know, it is not.
St Dwynwen’s may be a day for Welsh lovers, but we are not greedy in Wales when it comes to matters of the heart, and given the rank and contemptuous beast that has been born out of the commemoration of St Valentine, it seems only fair that we in Wales look to give back to the world, a day upon which lovers can enjoy that which they hold most important – rather than obsess about spending £250 in the name of love simply because that is what the neighbours spent on his/her partner that time last year.
So, how about this year, when love crosses the mind, look to Wales and St Dwynwen for your inspiration. The story is one of love, the day is as yet untarnished. Valentine’s is done for, make 2012 all about Dwynwen!
Put the 25th of January in the diary, and scrub out for 14th of Feb.