How Greek Mythology Influenced Valentine’s Day

Aphrodite and the Rose

“When we think of roses, we think of love.” A popular phrase today and very true statement. As Valentine’s Day has grown to become a huge commercial celebration worldwide, so has the popularity of its most recognizable symbol, the rose. For us to understand the meaning of the rose, we need to go back to Ancient Greece and to Goddess Aphrodite, the creator of the rose.

In human literature, the earliest references to roses are from the Ancient Greeks, where roses were portrayed as being associated with beauty and love. The Greek Goddess of love, Aphrodite, created the first rose, according to Greek mythology. 

When Aphrodite’s lover, Adonis, was severely wounded, his blood and tears mixed as they fell, forming red roses where they landed. Moreover, when her son Eros was married later, roses were said to have bloomed across the land.

Eros Turned into Cupid

We all may know Cupid as a little angelic cute child that inspires love by striking two people with his arrows of love. The little child with chubby cheeks, however, the original Cupid was actually a Greek God. The Romans stole him straight out of Greek Mythology, leaving his story intact and just renaming him. Can you guess who that would be in Greek mythology? 

Cupid is actually the Greek God Eros, the son of Aphrodite. The original fated-lovers story began with a human woman named Psyche. She was so unbelievably beautiful that many men began to worship her beauty, neglecting the altar of Aphrodite. Angered that humans would neglect her for a mere mortal, Aphrodite ordered her son, Eros, to cause Psyche to fall in love with the most horrible  thing he could find. Once Eros saw the woman he fell in love with her. 

Eros chose Psyche for his wife, unable or unwilling to curse her like his mother desired, but he assured her she would never be able to look at him. She agreed and didn’t know who he was. He hid her in a position where his mother wasn’t going to find her, but Psyche was allowed to see her family, a grace that she was allowed to have when she wasn’t able to see him. Since they were only able to spend time at night together, Psyche invited her sisters to visit during the day. Of course, they were jealous of her life and convinced her to break her husband’s trust by looking at him.

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