One of the most iconic representations of Valentine’s Day is the cherub and joyous Cupid. But where did this personification of love and happily ever after come from? As children we are taught that if this bow wielding infant strikes you with his arrow that you will fall in love and find a happily ever after with the next person you see.
This saying is based on Greek mythology where Cupid, originally known as Eros was said to be the son of Nyx and Erebus; or Aphrodite and Ares; or Iris and Zephyrus; or even Aphrodite and Zeus—who would have been both his father and grandfather, would wield his bow and golden arrows to create aversion and play with the emotions of Gods and humans alike. It is also said that he carried lead arrows that did the opposite of attract but instead repulsed people from another.
During different times in history Eros is portrayed differently, for instance during the Archaic period, Eros was shown and described as an incredibly handsome man who was irresistible to both humans and Gods alike. But by the Hellenistic period, he was increasingly portrayed as a playful, mischievous child. This representation was continued throughout today and brought Cupid to be the mascot of Valentine’s Day.