Valentine’s Day: The Story of Eros and Psyche

Valentine's Day - an occasion celebrated worldwide on February 14th.  Its murky origins go way back, and not all of them are hearts and roses. Like Eros and Psyche.
Valentine's day Eros and Psyche

The Known Version of the Story

The Roman Catholic Church kickstarted the Feast of Saint Valentine to honor a saint who shared a name with someone that Emperor Claudius II axed in the 3rd century A.D.. It took centuries before the festivities got linked to amorous intentions, and even more before a winged Cupid swooped in. Sure, the holiday has Catholic roots, but February 14th is all about honoring Saint Valentine. Who got martyred during Ancient Rome. Name it Saint Valentine’s Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine, take your pick.

Valentine’s Day in Cyprus:
7 Valentine’s Day Experiences You’ll Actually Enjoy 

Cyprus has not traditionally celebrated Valentine’s Day, as the state religion in Cyprus is Greek Orthodox. There are two days in the Greek Orthodox calendar devoted to Saints who celebrate love. The first is the celebration of Saint Priscilla and Saint Aquila. Taking place on February 13th, honoring a couple who traveled with St. Paul, helping him spread the word of God. The second feast day celebration is on July 3rd. Devoted to Saint Hyacinth (or Agios Yakinthos). Like Valentine, Hyacinth died a martyr, celebrating love due to his true love and devotion to God. That’s what I know…

The Son of Aphrodite

It is important at this point to note the relevancy of Cupid in the modern celebrations of Valentine’s day. And, in turn, his relations to the ancient goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite. Cupid, or “Eros” is the son of Cyprian Aphrodite.  The young Cypriot god is seldom depicted without his bow and arrow, his claim to fame.

It is said that one of Eros’s powers is that, using his bow and arrow, he could force someone to fall in love. One of the most well-known stories where Eros does this is the myth of Apollo and Daphne. 

The Story of Eros and Psyche

This story begins with a human woman called Psyche. Psyche was so utterly beautiful that men from all over the ancient world began to worship her, slowly forgetting and neglecting Aphrodite’s beauty and her altar. Aphrodite was blinded by rage and was in disbelief that a mortal girl could have more of an effect on the minds of men than she could. The goddess called upon her son to curse Psyche, asking that he use his bow and arrow to make her fall in love with the ugliest being he could find. However, when Cupid journeyed down to enact the curse, he ended up falling in love with the mortal girl.

How Cypriot is that?

Eros, being a typical Cypriot son, ultimately decided to go against his mother’s wishes, taking Psyche as his wife. With one condition: he told her that she would never be able to look at him. For fear that his identity could be revealed not only to the girl, but to Aphrodite. Psyche agreed, even though she was completely unaware of who he was. Eros hid her in a beautiful palace and gave her everything she could need, but only went to visit her in the dark, when his face would be obscured. 

Eventually, Psyche’s curiosity got the better of her. Motivated by her sisters, she betrayed Eros by shining a lamp on him while he slept. When he found out she had discovered his identity, he abandoned her, and Psyche was left to wander the earth in search of him. Unfortunately, she fell prey to Aphrodite who, instead of taking pity and reuniting Psyche with her son, decided to torture her with four impossible tasks.

Eros and Psyche

Eros discovered what Aphrodite was doing, and having enlisted the help of Zeus, was able to rescue Psyche from the terrible situation. Unwilling to let any other evils befall her, Eros decided to bring Psyche back to Mount Olympus. There she was bestowed immortality as his wife. Eros and Psyche serve as one of the very few examples of lovers who were finally able to find a happy ending in Greek mythology. It is a story that has survived throughout the millennia, transcending countless empires and alterations in order to be a part of our modern world of romance.

Love, Soul, indulgence

In Greek, Psyche means ‘soul,’ and Psyche herself became the Goddess of the Soul. Her struggles are a metaphor for the personal travails of the human soul in pursuit of love. Eros, as the God of Love, was also known as the Roman God Cupid, and over time his appearance morphed from an athletic handsome Cypriot God into a beatific chubby cherub boy with wings, and a bow and magical arrows surrounded by hearts and glitter to make people fall in love. Anyway, Eros and Psyche had a daughter called Hedone the goddess of pleasure, enjoyment, and delight,…. but that’s a different story!

7 Valentine's Day Experiences You'll Actually Enjoy

From immersive virtual reality experiences to intimate beach walks under the stars, we’ve got it all covered. Keep reading to discover the perfect Valentine’s Day plan for you and your loved one.

Share:

Related Posts

Check out what's happening

sponsored ad

what's going on

LEARN ABOUT FOOD & WINE PAIRING

Wine & Food pairing cooking show with my friend chef and World Champion Sommelier 2007 Andreas Larsson as he is hosting famous winemakers from all over the world.

Share this Post