SOURCE: Vision Media

Vision Media

March 16, 2010 03:03 ET

The History of Valentine's Day in Society and Culture -- Vision.org

Vision.org Article Discusses the History of Valentine's Cupid and Valentine's Day

PASADENA, CA--(Marketwire - March 16, 2010) -  In contemporary Western society and culture, Cupid, his bow and arrows and the heart symbol hold strong connections to the history of Valentine's Day. Today, the Cupid symbol is a big part of our society and culture. The influence of Valentine's Cupid is not limited to Valentine's history -- Cupid is found in ancient Roman and Greek mythology and the histories of their gods far before the history of Valentine's Day. In a new article for Vision.org, society and culture writer Alice Abler explores the story of Valentine's Cupid beyond the history of Valentine's Day as Cupid appears and reappears throughout time.

The history of Cupid can be found in various forms of ancient mythology -- Greek and Roman ideas were sometimes borrowed from earlier civilizations and their society and culture. The article, "Cupid's Disheartening Past," shows how the cuddly cherub is often found by students of Valentine's history with his mother (Venus, the goddess of love) as Valentine's Cupid. They both appear in different forms that pre-date the history of Valentine's Day, including ancient Roman mythology, Greek tales and ancient ideas.

Those studying Valentine's history and the Cupid story may already know that Cupid is also known as Eros, but may be surprised to learn who, according to legend and mythology, Greek or Hellenistic writers of old say was there at the beginning of the world.

According to Abler, the Cupid (Eros) figure appears in some of our earliest extant writings, including mythology. Greek writer Hesiod gives us an ancient view of this diminutive deity's formerly more powerful persona. "One of the earliest recorded references is found in 'The Theogony of Hesiod' (700 B.C.E.). Hesiod depicts Eros as one of the primeval gods, the god of fertility and sensual love, and responsible for the creation of all living things. This Eros is a much more powerful being than the one who appears later as the son of Aphrodite/Venus -- the Cupid of modern Valentine's Day cards."

Various incarnations of the veteran Valentine's history and characters predate Roman and Greek mythology and appear as pagan Egyptian, Sumerian and Akkadian deities and are referenced in the Bible.

Abler continues, "This intertwined history of Cupid and his mother, the traditional mother/son/spouse deities of sexual love and desire, may be somewhat hidden today."

Through her discussion of Valentine's history in the article, "Cupid's Disheartening Past," Abler exposes some of the surprising early life of Valentine's Cupid and his mother as they appeared even before the history of Valentine's Day.

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Vision.org is an online magazine with quarterly print issues that feature in-depth coverage of current social issues, religion and the Bible, history, family relationship topics and insights into philosophical, moral and ethical issues in society today. For a free subscription of the magazine, visit http://www.vision.org.

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