In this video, the history of the character of Cupid is discussed.
Cupid has long been the most recognizable symbol of St. Valentine’s Day. Who was Cupid? Why is he associated with the holiday?
In Greek Mythology, there was a character known as Eros. Eros was the Greek god of passionate love. His mother was Aphrodite (who was the goddess of love, beauty, and pleasure).
Hundreds of years later, the Romans borrowed the Greek traditions, changing the names of these gods and goddesses. The Romans knew Aphrodite by the name of Venus, and her son, they called Cupid. According to Roman mythology, Cupid’s father is unknown. However, there are some tales that state Cupid’s father is Mars (the god of War). Thus, Cupid’s parents would have been love and war.
Probably the most well-known legend associated with Cupid is that being shot by his arrow will cause the victim to fall in love.
Another famous story featuring Cupid relates to his relationship with a woman named Psyche (pronounced sy-kee). Cupid’s mother, Venus, was jealous of Psyche, so she asked Cupid to sneak into Psyche’s room and shoot one of his arrows at her (and cause her to fall in love with someone else). However, Cupid saw how beautiful Psyche was, and accidentally pricked himself with his own arrow—falling madly in love with her. Psyche and Cupid eventually had a daughter together, named Voluptas.
In artwork, Cupid was originally shown to be a slender, winged teenager. However, as time progressed, he was often depicted as a chubby boy. This is the iconic image that most people know today. He is also usually shown carrying his traditional bow and arrow. Sometimes Cupid is depicted with his mother, and other times he is shown entertaining himself by playing games. He is also sometimes displayed wearing a blindfold (as in the cliché phrase “love is blind”).
Today, Cupid is more popular than ever. His likeness can be found everywhere from statues, to greeting cards, stuffed toys, pillows, T-shirts, coffee mugs, and more. Not to mention, he is also firmly in place as the most notable character connected with Valentine’s Day.