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Who Is Cupid, And Where Do Valentine's Day Traditions Come From?

who is CupidOn Valentine’s Day, it’s often wondered who is Cupid was and why we even celebrate this day. The cards and hearts…where do these traditions come from?

Who Is Cupid?

Cupid is a god in Roman mythology, and controls erotic love. Cupid is also the Roman counterpart to the Greek god Eros.

His name comes from the Latin word cupido which translates to “passion, desire, yearning, wanting, or longing.” In Latin though, Cupid is known as amor, which means “love, infatuation, or passion.”

Cupid is one of the few ancient gods that remains a popular part of modern society and is still widely accepted as a symbol of love.

Why Cards on Valentine’s Day?

The first man to send a Valentine note was a Frenchman imprisoned in 1415. He remained there for 25 years and wrote 60 love poems addressed to his wife, which are claimed as the first formal “valentines”. One even refers to her as “Ma tres doulce Valentinée“.

Later, books of sentimental poems were published to help lovers express their feelings. Often these were practical how-to books: one published in 1797 was called The Young Man’s Valentine Writer. These were often sent anonymously.

In the 1840s, a young American woman, Esther Howland, received a Valentine while in London and decided to introduce the tradition to the United States.

Why hearts?

The traditional Valentine’s heart shape may derive from the seed of the silphium plant, which was used in ancient times as a herbal contraceptive.

The idea of the heart having two sides also echoed the biblical image of the two tablets of the law, written in the heart.

So there you have it! Some of the mystery of Valentine’s Day solved! Happy Valentine’s Day!

If you’re looking for a way to keep the kids busy today, how about a Dora game they can play on the computer!

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