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Why is Cupid a part of Valentine’s Day?


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Cupid and Valentine's Day

Cupid is the son of the Venus the Roman goddess of love and beautyCupid — the winged baby that carries a golden bow and arrows — is one of the most famous symbols of Valentine’s Day. His image, or sometimes one of a heart pierced by one of his arrows, is used to symbolize love. So how did a baby become such a big part of February 14th?

A Roman god

In Roman mythology, Cupid is the son of Venus, the goddess of love and beauty. And he is known as the god of affection. Legend has it that Cupid shoots magical gold-tipped arrows at gods and humans alike. By piercing their heart with an arrow, he causes individuals to fall deeply in love.

Antique Valentine's Day card with Cupid

The image of Cupid as a flying infant with a bow and arrow is the version that we're most familiar with to this day. (Photo by Dave licensed CC BY-ND 2.0)

Two arrows for two feelings

The legends say that those hit with Cupid's golden arrows will fall in loveSome legends also say that Cupid is known to change his mind a lot. Not only does he carry golden arrows to make someone fall in love, but he also carries another kind of arrow. This other arrow has a blunt lead tip that makes people fall out of love.

Modern-day Cupid

During the 14th to 17th centuries, painters created many works of art that showed Cupid as a baby angel. This same version began to appear on Valentine’s Day cards during the late 1800s. Ever since, the image of Cupid as a flying infant who inspires love has stuck in people's minds. And it’s the version of Cupid that we are most familiar with to this day.

Check out how Valentine's Day is celebrated around the world.