Nobody knows for sure where lovespoon carving originated, but strong traditions developed in Wales, Sweden and Norway and examples have been collected from most European countries. The oldest Welsh spoon was created in 1667 and is housed in the collection of the National History Museum of Wales at St Fagans near Cardiff. A German spoon dated 1664 is housed in the collections of the German National Museum in Nuremburg, and as far as I have been able to tell, is the oldest dated lovespoon currently known. It is unlikely that the custom dates back much further than the early 1600's despite wonderfully romantic theories of the custom having a direct link with the Celts of yore. Most of the romantic wood tokens originated around the same period and both the social and economic situation of earlier times make it unlikely they date back much before 1600.
It has been suggested that acceptance of a lovespoon was a betrothal promise, but this has never been proven and it is far more likely that acceptance of the spoon merely indicated mutual interest and a 'green light' for a courtship to begin.
Today, handcarved lovespoons are heirloom quality gifts which are given at engagements, weddings, anniversaries and a host of other occasions where a gift of deep sentiment is required. Although the symbolism may have changed throughout the years, the relevance of a lovingly carved spoon given with sentimental or romantic intent is as strong as ever. As a symbol of Wales and the warmth and passion of the Welsh people, it would be pretty hard to find a more iconic tradition than the lovespoon. So THAT is why we carve one each year.