They say you are struck by cupid's arrow when you fall in love. Ever wondered why is cupid associated with Valentine's Day and why does he play a major role in this celebration of love and lovers? Known to be the symbol of Valentine's Day, cupid was the mischievous son of Mars and Venus, remembered for striking people with his gold-tipped and lead-tipped arrows. This adorable, chubby little angel with wings, often portrayed as a childlike figure wearing a diaper, is depicted through drawings of two hearts, pierced by an arrow called Cupid's arrow. The gold-tipped arrow is used for striking people and making them fall in love with the next immediate person they see. However, that person is then struck with a lead-tipped arrow for making him/her repel from the first person. Did you know that Cupid himself was struck by the arrow of love once? Find out all about the history behind cupid and his association with Valentine's Day.
Story Behind Valentine's Day Cupid
According to Roman mythology, Cupid was the son of goddess Venus and god Mars. Legends say that apart from striking people with his love and hate arrows, Cupid, too, fell in love with a young mortal princess named Psyche. Stories narrate that Psyche was so beautiful and beloved that her subjects forgot to worship goddess Venus. Angered and outrageous, Venus asked her son Cupid to strike Psyche and make her fall in love with the vilest creature in the world. On trying to shoot Psyche with his golden arrow, Cupid gets enthralled by her beauty and falls in love with her.
Continuing from this section, there are two different stories considered by different people. According to one sect, Cupid started visiting Psyche every night after she slept. But since he was immortal, he asked her not to see him. However, provoked by her sisters that Cupid was a monster, Psyche made an attempt to steal a look of him which eventually angered him. Henceforth, he left while Psyche started searching for him throughout the world and finally met Jupiter, the leader of the gods. He gifted her immortality, allowing her to meet Cupid and stay with him for the rest of the life. This led to the union of Cupid and Psyche, which consequently resulted into marriage. With this, Psyche became a goddess and the couple had a daughter named Voluptas or Hedone, which meant "pleasure".
This theory is, however, not accepted by people belonging to the second school of thought. They believe Cupid married Psyche but she was forbidden by goddess Venus to look at him, since she was a mortal. Unable to resist her emotions, she looked at him, tempted by her sisters. This eventually landed her into a punishment ordered by Venus, asking her to complete four difficult tasks. Each task was harder and dangerous than the previous one. In her first task, she was asked to separate the seeds from an enormous pile of mixed grain in one night. In the second task, she was required to gather golden fleece from a herd of fierce wild sheep.
This was followed by the third task of getting a cupful of black water from a river that was guarded by dragons. Finally, the fourth task directed her to bring some beauty of Prosperine, wife of Pluto, in a small box that would restore her lost beauty. Psyche did not lose hope and completed them successfully. But to her dismay, she could not resist opening the box that she was carrying in her last task. As such, temptation succeeded and when she opened it, she found dead slumber that engulfed her with death. After finding her lifeless body on the ground, Cupid forgave her and brought her back to life. From then, she was made a goddess and married Cupid.
Let us know the story of Cupid, as to how he became the God of Love and got associated with Valentine's Day.