Why Give A Lovespoon

Sep 22, 2017 by

Lovespoons have long been a traditional romantic gift in Wales, dating back to the seventeenth century.

A young man would spend many hours carving a spoon for his sweetheart. He would decorate it with symbols of love, all of which have different meanings.

The lucky girl’s father would then inspect the spoon to judge whether or not the suitor was a skilled craftsman and capable of providing for the family.

Over generations the decorative carvings on the spoon became more intricate and it lost its original practical use; Instead it became a treasured item to be hung on the wall or dresser.

The earliest known dated love spoon from Wales is from 1667, although the tradition is believed to be even older. You can see the spoon at the St Fagans National History Museum near Cardiff.

The tradition still flourishes today with http://www.welshlovespoon.com. They make wonderful, traditional gifts for weddings, anniversaries, St.Dwynwen’s Day, Valentine’s Day and many more! Women can also give the gift to their sweethearts – and the mother need not inspect there quality!

Hearts – the universal symbol of love and is frequently seen on Welsh lovespoons. It is a sign of passion and strong emotion – signifying the carver’s depth of feeling for his beloved.

Twinned Hearts – indicates the hope for a mutual love between sender and recipient.

Double bowls – sometimes, lovespoons are carved with two or more bowls, possibly to indicate the union of the souls when joined together, or perhaps the number of children desired.

Keys and keyholes – represent domestic contentment, perhaps representing security or, more romantically, the key to one’s heart.

Wheels – represent a vow by the carver to work hard and to guide a loved one through life.

Chain links – generally indicate loyalty and faithfulness, though they can also symbolise a couple bound together in their love and loyalty.

Anchors – represent security, steadfastness, home to stay and the desire to settle down.

 

No other country in the world produced such a variety of design and carving techniques; and the young men put a great deal of time and thought into their creations. Wales was a poor society whose youth could not afford presents of expensive jewellery, and therefore they would do their utmost to create as beautiful spoons as possible.

At that time, practical skills in a husband would have been very desirable and a beautifully carved spoon would demonstrate the young man’s skills. The carvers would attempt to create more and more intricate designs as they vied for the attractions of a certain girl. The more complicated and difficult to carve a design, the more it would symbolise the depth of the creator’s love and desire to labour on behalf of his loved one. It is also possible that the size of the spoon would reflect the carver’s love, but the spoons do vary considerably in size from 8cm to a meter in length.

The first example of the word “llwy” (which is ‘spoon’ in Welsh) appears in the work of Taliesin, the 6th century Welsh poet, which suggests that such a utensil existed for centuries before the first existing tangible example. Wooden utensils used in kitchens would not have a very long life and very few original wooden work utensils have survived from a period earlier than the 18th century.

 

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