Valentine’s Day South Africa

A celebration of love, lust and Lindt, or is it just another Hallmark holiday?


Each year on Valentine’s Day (14 February), hordes of star-crossed young’uns and wedded veterans celebrate their love by rushing off to the shops to buy the biggest bunches of flowers, the most delectable-looking boxes of chocolates and (on occasion) the slinkiest lingerie.

But what’s the reasoning behind all this madness? Does Valentine’s Day claim roots entrenched deep in some lost romantic tale or is the holiday simply the brainchild of one particularly ambitious greeting card company? 

History of Valentine’s Day

As it turns out, the historic origins of this pseudo-holiday remain largely mysterious, with attribution rather shakily granted to an ancient celebration and a Roman Catholic saint.

As the story goes, Valentine’s Day’s beginnings are believed to be linked to the pagan fertility festival dedicated to the Roman god of agriculture, an age-old tradition comprising of animal sacrifices and a sacrificial feast. The occasion, which took place on the ides of February (15 February), encouraged the devout to cut thongs from the skins of the animals and run through the town striking the people in the crowds. It is said that women and young girls lined up to accept their lashes, as they guaranteed fertility and eased child birth pains.

With the advent and subsequent growth of Christianity, public performances of pagan rites were outlawed, thus leading to the festival’s decline in popularity and, what many believe, was a Christian effort to undermine the annual highlight.

Enter the story of Saint Valentine. Aside from his name, the date of his execution (14 February) and the location of his execution(Via Flaminia - a popular road in ancient Rome), little else is known about this wonder except that he inspired one of the most popular holidays of present-day.

Some legends claim that Valentine became a martyr thanks to his defiance of the Emperor Claudius II’s decree that forbid young army-worthy men from marrying. Others claim that the saint was immortalized for his attempts to save young souls from the harsh Roman prisons; in fact, some sources claim that his love letter written to the jailer’s daughter – it was signed ‘From Your Valentine’ – is the most genuine point of the holiday’s origin.

Though, in all honesty, most people attribute Valentine Day’s existence to capitalism, chocolatiers and card companies (it is said that a whopping 150 million cards are exchanged over Valentine’s Day every year).

Valentine’s Day in Cape Town

All in all, whether you love or loathe it, suggestions concerning what to do and where to woo your amour on Valentine’s Day in Cape Town are always welcome. So, without further ado:

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by Meagan Hamman
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Cape Town Events Calendar
February 2013
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Sushi Making Classes Towers RestaurantSushi Making Classes at African Pride ...

Learn how to make sashimi, nigiri, maki and more with a lesson from an ...

GFWS logo good food and wine showThe Cape Town Good Food and Wine Show

Catch the big guns of the culinary world at this year’s beloved expo

YOH Pirates at The Assembly Assembly Presents: YOH! Pirates Dress ...

Saturday turns into a rum lovin’ costume shindig at this Harrington Street ...

Brumbies VS Stormers NewlandsDHL Stormers VS Melbourne Rebels Super ...

Cape Town’s Stormers go head-to-head with the boys from Down Under in this ...

Matt Manning One Ingredient Pop-up Dinner and Cooking ClassOne Ingredient - Interactive dining ...

Learn how to prepare gourmet dishes while tucking into a four-course food and ...

Barnyard Theatre tribute ABBA Bee Gees Queen 01Barnyard Theatre’s Tribute to ABBA, ...

Celebrate the decades of disco, pop and great tunes

Cabaret at The Fugard Theatre Cabaret Musical at The Fugard Theatre

One of Broadway’s most popular productions comes to Cape Town

Haute Cabriere 1Haute Cabrière Wine Estate’s Cellar ...

Delve into a world of vino theatre every Saturday at this Franschhoek-based ...

John at the Artscape TheatreJohn Play at the Artscape

Explore the hidden world of sex workers through the eyes of a man seeking his ...

Dancelines Metronome Ballet and Contemporary DanceDancelines Studio Presents Metronome ...

Delight in the beauty of all types of dance celebrating musical diversity and ...

The Pervert Laura Play at the FugardThe Pervert Laura at the Fugard Theatre

A brilliant character study of a woman who starts to unravel as her dark past ...

LifeArt with Angala BoutiqueAn Art Weekend Away at Angala Boutique ...

Let your creative juices flow with an arty stay in the gorgeous Franschhoek ...

Hercules Dynamix Heavenly House Cocktail and Dance PartyHeavenly House Cocktail and Dance Party ...

Bounce to sick beats until the wee hours of the morning at this swanky affair

African Arts Campus Africa MonthAfrica Month Lecture Series with the ...

Join the African Arts Campus for a series of enlightening talks on politics, ...

St Petersburg Ballet at the ArtscapeSwan Lake Ballet at the Artscape Theatre

Don’t miss the world-class St Petersburg Ballet Theatre’s rendition of ...

Booom! Baby ExhibitionBooom! Baby Art Exhibition at the ...

Grab your very own limited edition print from a renowned artist and help HOLAH ...

Belmond Mount Nelson HotelThe Summer of 1946 by Alexander McCall ...

Drink the stars and watch Alexander McCall Smith’s out-of-this-world play at ...

Black Koki Worldart GalleryWorldart Gallery Exhibition: Black Koki ...

Laugh now, cry later is a departure from the artist’s usual detailed ...

Craft beer from The Taproom Salt RiverSaturday Breakfast at The Taproom

Make Saturday mid-morning memorable with a moreish bite and a brewery tour at ...

Hazendal new 7Saturday Picnics at Hermitage Restaurant

Slow down and join the ants for a leisurely lunch on the grounds of ...

Truffle Halal Restaurant Burger Special Cape TownBurger and Milkshake Special at Truffle ...

Visit this upmarket halaal bistro on any Saturday for a trio of sliders and a ...

The Palms Market in WoodstockMarket at The Palms in Woodstock

Bringing country-style food to city tables every Saturday in Cape Town

Lounge furniture from Eco Furniture Decor online storeEco Furniture Design Store Sale

Buy beautifully crafted wooden dining room, bedroom and patio pieces for a ...

Spier Eight logoEight Restaurant Thrusts Its Doors Open ...

Spier Wine Farm’s farm-to-table eatery’s now serving supper three days a ...

river club greensGolfer’s Breakfast Special at the ...

Make the most of the weekend with a morning of good grub and elegant swings

Cheap Superdry Jeans from Labels4Less Factory StoreSuperdry Clothing Sale: T-shirts, Jeans ...

Save an extra R50 on already discounted designer denim, tops, bags and ...

Wild Fig Outdoor Restaurant Dining The Wild Fig Restaurant’s Alfresco ...

Enjoy long, lazy weekend lunches outdoors at this historic Cape Town eatery

GFWS logo good food and wine showThe Cape Town Good Food and Wine Show

Catch the big guns of the culinary world at this year’s beloved expo

Matt Manning One Ingredient Pop-up Dinner and Cooking ClassOne Ingredient - Interactive dining ...

Learn how to prepare gourmet dishes while tucking into a four-course food and ...

Barnyard Theatre tribute ABBA Bee Gees Queen 01Barnyard Theatre’s Tribute to ABBA, ...

Celebrate the decades of disco, pop and great tunes

Cabaret at The Fugard Theatre Cabaret Musical at The Fugard Theatre

One of Broadway’s most popular productions comes to Cape Town

Food at Thali Thali Game Lodge and Reserve Sunday Lunch Buffet at Thali Thali Game ...

Cap off the weekend with a hearty, affordable spread at this family-friendly ...

Leopards Leap Rotisserie LunchRotisserie Lunch at Leopard’s Leap ...

Snack on succulent skewered meats and seasonal salads at this hip, young ...

Marcel's Frozen Yoghurt BlizzardShare a Frozen Yoghurt at Your ...

Savour a simple summer moment with a swirl of soft serve in hand

eight picnic 4Sunday Picnics at Spier Wine Farm

Tuck into a delicious array of snacks and nibbles while taking in the bucolic ...

Camissa Gospel Tour 4Sunday Gospel Experience with Camissa

Embark on a spiritual Sunday journey through one of the Mother City’s most ...

sotano in cape town 11Sunday Happy Hour and Live Music at ...

Unwind with live music and good vibrations at this easy, breezy Mediterranean ...

Kleine Zalze Wine TastingSunday Wine Tasting at Kleine Zalze ...

Sample a sterling selection of vintages at this acclaimed Winelands destination

John at the Artscape TheatreJohn Play at the Artscape

Explore the hidden world of sex workers through the eyes of a man seeking his ...

Rhebokskloof Charity Dog WalkThe Rhebokskloof Dog Walk and Fun Day

Take your pampered pooch for a vineyard stroll to raise money to foster and ...

The Pervert Laura Play at the FugardThe Pervert Laura at the Fugard Theatre

A brilliant character study of a woman who starts to unravel as her dark past ...

LifeArt with Angala BoutiqueAn Art Weekend Away at Angala Boutique ...

Let your creative juices flow with an arty stay in the gorgeous Franschhoek ...

African Arts Campus Africa MonthAfrica Month Lecture Series with the ...

Join the African Arts Campus for a series of enlightening talks on politics, ...

St Petersburg Ballet at the ArtscapeSwan Lake Ballet at the Artscape Theatre

Don’t miss the world-class St Petersburg Ballet Theatre’s rendition of ...

Booom! Baby ExhibitionBooom! Baby Art Exhibition at the ...

Grab your very own limited edition print from a renowned artist and help HOLAH ...

Belmond Mount Nelson HotelThe Summer of 1946 by Alexander McCall ...

Drink the stars and watch Alexander McCall Smith’s out-of-this-world play at ...

Black Koki Worldart GalleryWorldart Gallery Exhibition: Black Koki ...

Laugh now, cry later is a departure from the artist’s usual detailed ...

Kloof Street House Restaurant KSH Cape TownSunday Lunch & Free Live Jazz at Kloof ...

While away the last few hours of the weekend with some smooth tunes and good ...

Art blocks from Baraka Cape Quarter storeBaraka Gift and Decor Shop Special

Save 10% on quirky collectibles and unusual gifts every Sunday at this De ...

Hazendal Wine Farm Cape WinelandsSunday lunch at Hazendal’s Hermitage ...

Unwind with affordable fare on one of Stellenbosch’s oldest wine farms

Pow Boxing Break the Bank LaunchPOW Boxing Break the Bank Launch in ...

Watch some of the country’s greats go head-to-head at this inaugural fighting ...

Get Outside Urban Trail Runs Get Outside Sunday Urban Trail Run in ...

Get fit and grab a cuppa during this staple fun run through the heart of the ...

Harlem Globetrotters Tour to Cape TownThe Harlem Globetrotters Basketball ...

Dribble, duck, shoot and score with this slam-dunk event featuring the ...

African Soul Surfer Backpackers Room View MuizenbergAfrican Soul Surfer Backpackers in ...

The scoop on the surf-mad hostel that’s closer to the beach than any ...

Toya Delazy 10 q10 Questions For: Toya Delazy

As one of South Africa’s brightest stars, Toya DeLazy has been tearing up ...

The Drawing Room Cafe in Cape TownThe Drawing Room Café and Art Gallery ...

Nibble on eats while admiring striking works of art at this multipurpose ...

Cape Flats Smile Passion Gap Dental Modification... Passion Gaps?

The toothy truth behind the Cape Flats smile

The Piano Bar The Piano Bar in Cape Town

This inner-city jazz haunt fuses music, cocktails and food into one ...