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Happy Valentine's Day

Updated: Feb 27

Love is in the air, but I'll admit there were many Valentine's Days when I wanted nothing more than to shoot Cupid with his own arrow.

True story.

a photo of a mischievous looking Cupid.

So, just who is this winged little fellow we call Cupid? And why do we see his chubby little nakedness buzzing around like an annoying reminder that love is in the air on Valentine's Day? Fact is, he wasn't always a cherubic infant sporting a bow and arrow. He was first known to the Greeks as Eros, the handsome god of love, and a rather studly guy then too! But as history tells it, much later the Romans came along and renamed him, Cupid. It was then that he became associated with Valentine's Day.

Ancient mythology tells us that Cupid was not only armed with a bow and quiver filled with golden arrows to arouse desire but also leaden arrows to ignite aversion. (Who hasn't been hit with those a couple of times?) The Greeks say that Eros not only struck at the hearts of gods and mortals but played with their emotions too, having a fondness for causing trouble. In one story from ancient Greek mythology (also later told by Roman authors), Eros (Cupid) shoots a golden arrow at Apollo, and Apollo falls madly in love with the nymph Daphne. Then, in his known mischievous manner, he shoots another arrow, a leaden one at Daphne so that she would be repulsed by Apollo - that sneaky little cherub!

Another story tells of Cupid's mother, Venus (Aphrodite) who became so jealous of the beautiful mortal Psyche, that she told her son to induce Psyche to fall in love with a monster! But instead, Cupid became so enamored with Psyche himself - he married her! But only with the condition that she could never see his face. Although she agreed, eventually, Psyche's curiosity got the best of her, and she stole a glance. This caused Cupid to flee in anger. After roaming the world in search of her lover, Psyche was finally reunited with Cupid and granted the gift of immortality. Romance at its finest!

Because of his associations with love, 19th-century Victorians are credited with depicting the cherubic version of Cupid as a representation of Valentine's Day. And so, the chubby little fellow continues to show up everywhere this time of year, reminding us that love is in the air.

Happy Valentine's Day! Smell the roses, eat some chocolate, and watch out for those arrows!

(Cherubs do look cute in the garden:

Published by Jennifer Tipton / This post may contain affiliate links.

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