Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Welsh Love Spoons

My book, All That Was Promised, takes place in 1847 Wales. I make mention of “Love Spoons”, one of which was carved and given to a central character, Leah, by Richard Kenyon.
The carving of love spoons originated in Wales hundreds of years ago. The oldest known example is dated at 1667, but the tradition goes back much farther than that.
 The young man would spend hours carving his love spoon with his own hands with the hope that the girl would accept it. If she did they began a courtship. This is where the term “spooning” originates.
The spoons were symbolic of the young man’s love and devotion. Spoons also suggested food on the table, and a cozy home life, which would impress the girl with his ability to care for her.
Many of the symbols carved into the spoons conveyed a variety of meanings. A chain would mean a wish to be together forever, a diamond wealth or good fortune, a cross conveyed faith, a flower indicated affection, or a dragon could imply protection.
If the young man succeeded in capturing the girl’s heart, his love spoon would become a treasured possession and was often displayed on the wall of the home.
Even today, the love spoon is a tradition kept among the Welsh. They are given for birthdays, holidays, weddings, births, christenings, anniversaries, and other special occasions.
My Welsh great-great grandparents, James and Ann Ellis, wrote in their journals of a love spoon carved by James and given to Ann prior to their marriage. Their journals became a great resource to me in writing All That Was Promised and provided me with a real sense of life in 19th century Wales.

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