Love Spoons - The History of the Welsh Love Token
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. 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!
Our talented carver has produced some wonderful contemporary pieces to save you carving your own, have a look here.
Symbols of Lovespoons
- 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.
The National Museum of Wales have a great 'Make your own Lovespoon' online tool. Try it yourself here!
Do you know anymore lovespoon symbols and their meaning? Add them to our comments below!