The suit of Cups in a Tarot deck are correlated to suit of hearts in regular playing Cards. They are also identified as Vessels, Cauldrons, Goblets or Chalices depending on the type of tarot deck it is associated with.
Like the feelings we get that correspond to our hearts; cups represent those type of emotions. They have to do with love, emotions, feelings, decisions, your sensitivity, family life and the finishing stages in one's life. Cups deal with the emotional level of our consciousnesses. Cups also reflect our spontaneous responses and our habitual reactions at our emotional level. The suit of Cups also express our religious affinities depending where they lie in a spread.
The direction the suit of Cups is ruled by is the East. Its element is Water and its color blue. The Cups are associated with the deep mysteries of the essence of water. The water Element is as a symbol associated with the subconscious mind and reason. In the artwork you will often see flowing and watery objects with the Cups suit. The Zodiac signs associated with Cups are water signs. They are Pisces, Cancer and Scorpio. The physical characteristic associated with cups are fair complexioned plump people who are emotional, artistic, humane and creative. They are also said to correspond to the water signs.
The season it corresponds to is the Fall (Although there are some readers that also relate the suit of cups to Summer) Cups are Yin or feminine energy. The Cups also relate to the lunar and tidal cycles of the earth. They are the dreamy like aspect of the Minor Arcana. (The minor Arcana is that part of the Tarot Deck composed of 4 suits and Court Cards.) In tarot readings they represent; psychic and intuitiveness, the arts, fantasy and illusion, fertility, emotions, spirituality, sacred sexuality, grace and serenity. It is a suit of love and happiness. When we see a lot of cups in a spread it is telling us the person in question is seeking solutions to emotional matters of the heart, emotional conflicts and love matters.
In terms of symbolism The Suit of Cups have been likened to the Holy Grail Chalice, the stone cup of Soma, Isis's Pomegranate Cup, The Persian Cup of Jamshid, The Bloody Mysteries and the Christian Communion Cup. It represents the holding of deepness, the well or memory and the record of our existence. Cups are associated with anything emotional from marriage, to personal relationships to possessions and concerns that effect us emotionally. This includes anything affecting partnerships including work relationships and of course personal.