The Welsh Lovespoon

Post image for The Welsh Lovespoon

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.

lovespoon

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.

lovespoon

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.

lovespoon

Images taken from my welsh table cloth exclusive to Castle Welsh Crafts

Comments

anne -January 29, 2013, 9:56AM

wow! those are beautiful!

Tiffany -January 29, 2013, 1:27PM

i really like this. it’s always such a shame that really great traditions do die over time, especially ones that are craft based, what with technology and everything. but these spoons are absolutely beautiful.

LBlake -January 29, 2013, 1:54PM

Nice post. :) I think you’ve expressed the sentiment that IS the Welsh Lovespoon very perfectly here. I beg to differ, though – the Welsh lovespoon tradition is quite alive. It may not be as commonplace as we presume it once was, and people may more often hire a professional carver for the task these days, rather than carving their own (though, I know many who do carve them for their sweethearts or spouses, and in fact, the first lovespoon I carved was a Valentine’s gift for my eventual spouse). So – be comforted in knowing that the tradition, while perhaps not extremely well known everywhere (yet), is very much alive. The importance of showing how a suitor will provide for a girl (or prescribing the number of children he’d like to have) may have been more relevant in 17th century rural Wales, but the heart of the tradition survives, and has even evolved and grown beyond it romantic roots. It still all about conveying a heart-felt message in a creative, sentimental, and deeply personal way. But it’s certainly not terribly well-known, though, so posts like this help keep it alive, so it’s very nice to see! Nice poem, too – I will have to keep an eye out for that towel. Best wishes!

fp jemma -January 29, 2013, 2:00PM

Hi LBlake, Thank you so much for your comment, it’s very nice to know that the tradition is somewhat still alive xxx

Laura -January 29, 2013, 2:45PM

I love this! My husband is from North Wales (SUCH a stunning place). We have a Welsh lovespoon hanging in our apartment, it was a wedding gift from his parents. We will hang it wherever we live, for as long as we live. It is such a beautiful tradition.

Jordan Jones -January 29, 2013, 2:47PM

Hello there!

I love that you’ve posted about welsh love spoons. I’m part Welsh and before I moved away from home to go to college I got a welsh love spoon design tattooed on the back if my spine. I coordinated with the tattoo artist so it looks like a music note with a sparrow at the top of the spoon. I love these spoons, what they can represent and how much meaning they have.

I was wondering, where online can you buy these spoons?…

Thanks again for sharing!

Best,
Jordy

fp jemma -January 29, 2013, 2:53PM

Hi Jordan, glad you like it you can buy welsh lovespoons from this site :) Welsh Lovespoons

Sweet Sarah -January 29, 2013, 6:46PM

Aw, I loved this post! I was lucky enough to travel to Wales in 2005 *and* have a summer fling while there. And yes, he bought me a love spoon and yes. I still treasure it — as well as the sweet memories :)

-Sarah
http://www.sweetandsavorylife.com

Lucy Sinclaire -January 29, 2013, 8:22PM

What a beautiful and unique post. Thank you Jemma!

Ilse -January 30, 2013, 2:01AM

I love mythical things. This post is great. I never knew a Welsh Love spoon existed! Thanks for sharing :-D

Lou lou -January 30, 2013, 2:18AM

My husband is English and one of our first trips together was to Wales with him, his mother and sisters. For our wedding this past August his sisters Gemma and Kerry gifted us a Welsh lovespoon. I love it so much. It is hung in our kitchen.

Post a comment

Back To Top