What comes to mind when you think of Valentine’s Day? Valentine cards are obviously way on the top of the list. Hearts, flowers and candy are also very traditional tokens that we associate with Valentine’s Day as well. Valentines Day, a holiday that celebrates all things love and romance, is steeped in lots of symbols. Cupid, however–the arrow bearing, diapered baby, might be the oldest and most common of the love symbols we associate with Valentines Day. But who is this Cupid guy anyway? What has he got to do with the day of love?
Cupid: What’s Up With the Diaper? Not to burst anyone’s bubble here, but Cupid actually didn’t start out wearing a diaper at all. In Ancient Roman mythology, Cupid, the son of Venus, was usually depicted completely in the buff. (That’s naked, folks.) He also wasn’t always a baby. Cupid grew up into quite a strapping (and apparently quite smokin’ hot) youth who indeed was also the god of desire and erotic love. He did indeed carry a quiver of potent arrows, however. The gold-tipped arrows were purported to make someone fall madly and quickly in love, while the lead-tipped ones were used to create wanton passion and lust.
Jealous Mother: Roman Mythology gets a little dicey here, but as the story goes, Venus, Cupid’s mom was very jealous of a mortal human woman named Psyche. Psyche was extremely beautiful, perhaps even more so than Venus, which made Venus a bit crazy. Venus sent Cupid (armed with his powerful arrows) to shoot Psyche. The point was to make Psyche fall immediately in love with someone nearby that was a truly vile or hideous human–now that would keep her busy and get her off of Venus’ mind, right?
Whoops…I Hate it When That Happens: When Cupid lays eyes on Psyche, he slips up and accidentally scratches himself with his own potent arrow. He immediately falls madly in love with mere mortal Psyche and although he knows trouble could be a-brewin’, he marries her anyway. Even though he and Psyche are now in love, Cupid insists that Psyche never look at him. That’s the rules. Now, Cupid is aware that he is indeed quite delicious to gaze upon, but Psyche just isn’t allowed to know what he looks like-ever. Cupid only visits Psyche when it is dark so that she cannot see him. Cupid is apparently quite a magical lover, so Psyche is very happy. During the daytime, Cupid has supplied Psyche with all she needs to live a very happy and quite a cushy life.
Jealousy Strikes Again: Psyche’s sisters become very jealous of the very pleasant lifestyle their beautiful sister has suddenly attained with her mysterious new husband. They stir up all sorts of trouble by convincing Psyche that Cupid must be actually quite hideous looking or he wouldn’t keep his appearance a well-guarded secret. Psyche allows herself to become convinced that she must see what her husband looks like.
Shed A Little Light On It: One night, during one of Cupid’s nocturnal visits, Psyche sneaks a candle into the room. While Cupid is sleeping, Psyche lights the candle in order to be able to get a good look at her husband. Psyche is so enamored with the great beauty of her husband that she stares completely aghast at his stunning form. As she does so, she accidentally drips some of the candle wax on Cupid, waking him. Enraged by her disobedience, Cupid leaves Psyche, who now is left totally in despair.
Love Conquers All: Don’t worry–this torrid tale still somehow manages to end up happily. Psyche strikes a deal with Venus who sends her on a mission to prove herself, which even includes a trek into the underworld. In her possession, Psyche has a box, which Venus has instructed her to never open. Overcome by curiosity, Psyche opens the box, which immediately puts her into a deep, deep slumber. Cupid happens upon his sleeping bride and upon seeing her in this state, he just can’t be angry with her any longer. Cupid released Psyche from her sleep, and then takes her to see Venus, convincing his mother that Psyche is now worthy of godly immortality. The gods give Psyche some powerful nectar made of ambrosia, making her a goddess in her own right. Now folks…that’s what we will call a happy ending!
Feeling the Love? You may want to try creating your own version of Cupid with one of our many perfect-for-Valentine’s Day costumes. Check out our how-to video on how to create a really sweet and sexy Valentine’s Day look. This look is going to knock his socks off! (Plus it works a lot better than a half-naked arrow-wielding baby, we promise!) Happy Valentine’s Day from your friends at Halloween Express!