Valentine’s Day – A Very Greek Love Story
February the 14th marks Valentine’s Day, a day to celebrate love and the opportunity to show that special one in your life just how much they mean to you (if you don’t do that every day anyway!). You probably already know lots about the tradition and history of Valentine’s Day, which takes its name from a Christian Saint who was martyred during the Ancient Roman era (there’s a nice cheery connection to a day celebrating love). February the 14th is the day when Saint Valentine is honoured, which is why it is officially known as Saint Valentine’s Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine. What you probably didn’t know though, is that Valentine’s Day has a strong connection to Greece, and perhaps not in the way you’d think, so read on for more…
Valentine’s Day Traditions in Greece
Greece has not traditionally celebrated Valentine’s Day, as the state religion in Greece is Greek Orthodox. There are two days in the Greek Orthodox calendar that are devoted to Saints who celebrate love. The first is the celebration of Saint Priscilla and Saint Aquila, which takes place on the 13th February, and honours a couple who travelled with St. Paul, helping him to spread the word of God. The second feast day celebration is on the 3rd of July, and is devoted to Saint Hyacinth (or Agios Yakinthos). Like Valentine, Hyacinth died a martyr, and his day is a celebration of love because of his true love and devotion to God which cost him his life.
The Love Story of Eros & Psyche
However, whilst Greece may not have strong connections to the common concept of Valentine’s Day, you might be surprised to learn that Greece can actually lay claim to being the birthplace to one of the oldest and most touching love stories of them all, that of Eros and Psyche. Eros was an Ancient Greek God, and the son of the beautiful Goddess Aphrodite. Psyche was a gorgeous princess, and a mere mortal, but one whose beauty (and the subsequent attention it got her) made Aphrodite very jealous. Eros was instructed by Aphrodite to curse Psyche, so that men would be unable to fall in love with her. Eros carried out his task, but in the process fell in love with Psyche himself. With the curse, Psyche was unable to marry, and her anxious parents consulted an Oracle, who, guided by Eros, told her parents that it was Psyche’s fate to marry a hideous ugly beast who lived atop a mountain, who she would never be able to lay eyes on. Accepting their daughter’s fate (this was the era of the Gods after all!) her parents sent her away to the mountain, where she married ‘the beast’. This beast was in fact Eros, who visited Psyche only at night, and forbade her to look at him or seek out his identity. Despite this, she was very much in love with him, and had a lovely life living in the castle atop the mountain. However, when her two jealous sisters visited, they convinced Psyche that ‘the beast’ was tricking her, and would murder her. They persuaded Psyche to sneak a look at the beast while he was asleep, and if necessary, murder him first. As Eros slept, Psyche lit a candle and looked at him. On seeing her husband was not a monster, but in fact a gorgeous God, Psyche fell even more madly in love. However, wax from the candle dripped onto Eros, waking him up. Feeling angry and betrayed, Eros left Psyche.
Distraught by the loss of her husband, Psyche asked the Gods for help, and eventually spoke with Aphrodite. Still jealous of Psyche and bitter about her son’s treachery, Aphrodite set Psyche three seemingly impossible challenges to complete. Psyche had to separate and sort a huge pile of grain and seeds, gather a single thread from a golden sheep living amongst a violent herd, and fill a cup with water from a spring that fed the rivers Styx and Cocytus, two of the rivers encircling Hades, God of the Underworld. With divine intervention, Psyche completed her tasks, so a furious Aphrodite demanded she descend to the Underworld and bring back a box of Persephone’s magical beauty cream. Spurred on by her love of Eros, Psyche went and collected the box, but was overcome by temptation to see what was inside (shades of Pandora’s box here!) and opened it. Aphrodite had Morpheus (god of sleep and dreams) cast a spell on the box to trick Psyche, and she was sent into a deep eternal sleep. Discovering Psyche’s fate, Eros went directly to Zeus, King of all the Gods, and begged him to save Psyche. Not wanting to deny true love, Zeus brought Psyche out of her sleep and gave her ambrosia and nectar to make her immortal. Psyche and Eros were married on Mount Olympus and gave birth to a baby daughter called Hedone (Pleasure). And they both lived happily ever after…
In Greek, Psyche means ‘soul’, and Psyche herself became Goddess of the Soul. Her struggles are a metaphor for the personal travails of the human soul in pursuit of love, and the personal growth and soul searching that happens in the face of lost 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 God into a beatific chubby cherub boy with wings, and a bow and magical arrows to make people fall in love. Some versions of the Psyche and Eros story even have him shooting Psyche with cursed arrows and inadvertently casting a spell on himself to fall in love with Psyche.
NEW Luxury One Bedroom Sea View Villa for Couples in Mykonos
We’re suckers for love stories and a bit of island romance at Mykonos Panormos Villas, so for the summer season of 2016 we’ve got an exciting addition to our fabulous range of sea view, luxury villas in Panormos Bay, Mykonos. We will now be offering new two bedroom private pool villas that are ideal for couples! These villas are amongst the most spacious and luxurious on the beautiful island of Mykonos. The new one bedroom villas have private infinity pools with uninterrupted sea views, and as you’d expect from us, they’re really stylish, and feature the highest quality finishes and furnishings. As with all our villas, the beautiful, sandy Panormos Beach is only a 150m walk away!
Mykonos Private Villa for Couples
The new luxury one bedroom villas are the ideal romantic getaway for couples looking for a romantic vacation in Mykonos, be it for a honeymoon, anniversary, or just a romantic break. The one bedroom villas are the perfect private romantic retreat, and, like all our luxury villas, you will have access to range of extensive range of personalised tailor made Mykonos villa services, including our 24hr concierge service, 24hr driving services and a new room service menu. We’ll deliver a delicious customizable breakfast to your villa every day, so you can just relax and enjoy one another’s company while our friendly staff make sure you both feel right at home. Savour the amenities of a 5 star resort in your own private villa, by lounging the day away next to your private pool, while snacking on our pool menu or have a gorgeously intimate private dining experience under the moonlight prepared and served to you by our very own chef. We’re experts in offering bespoke tailor made services for Mykonos holidays, so just let us know your perfect travel experience and we’ll make your dream a reality!
Valentine’s Day Special Offer for a Romantic Holiday in Mykonos
To celebrate Valentine’s Day and the launch of our one bedroom private pool villa for couples, we’re unveiling a special offer. For a limited time, you can treat your partner to a special romantic holiday in Mykonos in the one bedroom sea view villa, including breakfast in bed, romantic decorations including flowers and candles, a bottle of Prosecco and fruit bowl when you arrive, a surprise gift for you both, and premium VIP treatment with dedicated concierge! On top of this, we’re offering special discounted rates on our exclusive tailor made services, including the private candlelit dinner by our chef, private excursions, sailing trips and pampering in-house beauty treatments and massages. So check out our exclusive Valentine’s Day offer for our romantic one bedroom villa in Mykonos, and say Σ’αγαπώ (that’s “I love you”) to your special someone in style this year!