There’s not a lot to help us get through the lockdown. Even the distant dream of a summer holiday has been dispelled by Matt Hancock, despite booking a lovely trip to Cornwall himself. So, what’s left to drag us through these monotonous weeks, months, or probably more likely – years?
Wine? No, apparently that’s not good for you.
Comforting eating? Ditto.
Watching endless hours of trash TV? Umm, that works for a while.
How about a little love?
Yes, that’s right. With Valentine’s Day upon us, what better way to forget our lockdown woes than with a look at how this festival of love is celebrated around the world.
Valentine’s Day is celebrated in Wales just as it is in much of the world, but Wales also has its own special day to celebrate love and romance. St Dwynwen’s Day, which falls on 25 January, honours the Welsh patron saint of love.
The story goes that a young Welsh maiden called Dwynwen fell in love with a man called Maelon (good proper Welsh names, those), but they couldn’t be together, so Dwynwen ran into the woods. There she met an angel who gave her a magic potion to give to Maelon that would help her forget him – she must have really liked him! Unfortunately, the potion turned Maelon into a block of ice. Dwynwen immediately fell to her knees and prayed for three things: for Maelon to be released, for her never to marry, and for God to care for all true lovers.
St Dwynwen’s Day is celebrated today by couples exchanging love spoons. The spoons, carved from wood, carry messages of love and can even be used by couples to tell each other how many children they want so they can start to think about home-schooling.
2. South Korea
Let’s board the love boat and sail all the way from Wales to South Korea, where traditions begin on 14 February. On this day, it’s up to the women to woo their men with chocolates, sweets and flowers. We then move to 14 March, a holiday known as the White Day, when it’s the men’s turn. They have to shower their partners with similar treats as well as upping the ante with a gift.
Our favourite part of the celebrations falls on 14 April, also known as the rather dramatic Black Day. Rather than staying in, washing their hair and crying themselves to sleep, single friends meet at restaurants to eat Jajangmyeon – noodles in black sauce – and mourn their singledom. That actually sounds pretty good to us. In our opinion, noodles are better than chocolate, and you never know who you might meet!
3. South Africa
Valentine’s Day in South Africa is only for the brave. As well as the usual gift-giving between couples, single women have to bear the ignominy of literally ‘wearing their hearts on their sleeves’. They follow an ancient Roman tradition known as Lupercalia, by pinning the name of their love interest to their sleeve. Personally, we prefer the more cowardly route of an anonymous card.
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