The Tour of Wales

 

 

Love Spoons

Love Spoons

There is a curious Welsh custom of giving a wooden spoon - a so called "love spoon" to one's fiance or sweetheart. The custom of giving wooden gifts was indeed widespread in many countries of Europe from the end of the 17th century (but it would be, wouldn't it? it is not as of they had plastic!). The first Welsh love spoon is attributed to a 16th Century young romantic who carved the offering for his intended, and unwittingly began the tradition.

Wooden spoons in Wales were usually intricately decorated, and given prior to the beginning of a courtship. These spoons would then be carved from a single piece of wood, and the craft of doing so became something of a hobby interest or passtime during the long and wild winters

Why spoons were chosen for this custom is not clear, although it may represent a desire to help one's beloved - the utensil for eating assisting in one of our basic needs. However, these spoons were not to be used for eating, their long handles were impractical for that purpose, being designed to be hung on the wall as decorations. Elaborate designs and patterns began to proliferate, and Welsh love spoons took many sizes and shapes.

There are many design elements, some of which are: two bowls sprouting from one handle signifies the unity of a couple; keys or keyholes signify common ownership of a house or dwelling (or a car!); an anchor signifies that the giver has a place to settle down. Many spoons are carved with a swivel or chain attachment with the number of links showing the number of children they desired. Entwined hearts were also a popular motif for obvious reasons. Some spoons have initials of the couple, some were made as puzzle spoons, with captive spheres or balls being carved in the handles.

Find out More

There are many sites on the Internet selling traditional love spoons, and each has further information. You might like to start your search by typing "love spoons" into www.google.com

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