Who Is Cupid?
Valentine’s Day cards frequently feature Cupid as a nude cherub shooting arrows of love at unwary couples. However, the Greek deity of love, Eros, is the ancestor of the Roman god Cupid. He was reportedly born to Nyx and Erebus, Aphrodite, and Ares, Iris, and Zephyrus, or even Aphrodite and Zeus, according to various accounts of his birth (who would have been both his father and grandfather).
Greek Archaic poets described Eros as a gorgeous immortal who toyed with people’s emotions. He used golden arrows to stir feelings of love and leaden ones to stir feelings of dislike. He wasn’t shown as the cheeky, chubby boy he had become on Valentine’s Day cards until the Hellenistic era.
Typical Valentine’s Day Greetings
Valentine’s Day is observed outside of the United States in countries including Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, and Australia. Around the 17th century, Valentine’s Day became a widely observed holiday in Great Britain.
Friends and lovers of all social groups would frequently exchange modest mementos of affection or handwritten notes by the middle of the 18th century, and by 1900, thanks to advancements in printing technology, printed cards started to take the role of written letters. When direct emotional expression was frowned upon, pre-made cards provided a simple means of expression for people. The popularity of mailing Valentine’s Day messages increased as shipping costs decreased.
Early in the 1700s, Americans most likely started sharing handmade valentines. Esther A. Howland started selling the first mass-produced Valentines in America in the 1840s. Howland, dubbed the “Mother of the Valentine,” created intricate works of art using actual lace, ribbons, and “scrap,” or vivid images. Valentine’s Day is now the second-largest card-sending occasion of the year, with an estimated 145 million cards being sent annually, according to the Greeting Card Association (more cards are sent during Christmas).