As you all probably know by now, I’m from Wales and in this small country there’s an old tradition that involves love: The Welsh Lovespoon.
The folk craft of craving and giving Lovespoons has been around in Wales since the 17th century. Young men would spend hours carving intricate designs into a wooden spoon in the hope that the girl would accept it in exchange for love. Young men had a lot of time on their hands back in those days, while some would turn to poetry or song writing, others would choose to carve a spoon. The spoons would also suggest food on the table and a cosy family life which would impress the girl and to show his ability to care.
During this time, practical skills of a man would be very desirable, so the more intricate the spoon was the more skill was shown, and would symbolize the depth of the creator’s love and desire. If the girl accepted the gesture, it would be hung on display in their home.
Today you can buy many Lovespoons. I buy them as gifts to give to the people I love and I have one hanging in my home that I glance at every now again. I love this tradition and wished that it never died. Maybe this Valentine’s, do something different and carve a wooden Lovespoon for your loved one.
In days gone by a lad too shy
To speak his love too soon
Would by this sign say please be mine,
He’d give his girl a spoon.
With tender heart he’d carve each part,
The handle, stem and bowl,
With a deft knife he’d claim a wife
And win her loving soul.
Each symbol clear would tell his dear
The hopes his mind delighted,
The twisted stem meant both of them
Would always be united.
The wheel vowed work, he would not shirk
To build a cosy nest,
Of luck the crescent Horseshoe spoke,
The Key said, Home is best.
The Soul, the heart declared the part
Forever he’d forego.
Each little ball would tell her all
Their children in a row.
The merry Bell of marriage spoke,
He’d lead her to the alter,
The Shield, Protection stout as oak
His faith would never falter.
And as they walked, and as they talked
Beneath the country moon,
Her blush would glow, for she’d well know
The message of the spoon.
Images taken from my welsh table cloth exclusive to Castle Welsh Crafts