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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Big Bay Beach Run SeriesBig Bay Beach Run Series In Cape Town

Stride along for a good cause at this first ever family- friendly series of fun ...

HQ Friday night DJ Dance partyFriday Night DJ and Dancing at HQ ...

#AfterDark with DJ Rene: start the weekend with a steak dinner, stylish ...

Barnyard Theatre Willowbridge 80s RewindBarnyard Theatre’s 80s Rewind Party

Take a trip down musical memory lane with this rocking fiesta

Young Fathers & Friends at Assembly Assembly Presents: Young Fathers & ...

Saturday comes alive with the much-anticipated Cape Town leg of the Young ...

That Art Fair in Cape Town That Art Fair Expo in Cape Town

See emerging and established African artists showcase their thought-provoking ...

Tribal TattooCape Town Tattoo Convention

Due to unforeseen and unfortunate circumstances, the 2015 Cape Town Tattoo ...

Wake Board Ultimate XUltimate X Festival

South Africa’s premier action sports festival tail-whips into Cape Town with ...

feastofthegrape1Feast of The Grape

Drink in all that the Durbanville wine route has to offer at the valley’s ...

Century City Sports FestivalCentury City Sports Festival

Discover the fun side of life at Century City with an action-packed weekend of ...

Design Indaba Cape TownDesign Indaba Expo, Conference & ...

Browse through cutting-edge examples of design at Mzansi’s foremost creative ...

Jazz on the Rocks Tieties Bay PaternosterJazz on the Rocks

Gear up for a lekker time along the West Coast at this beloved beachside ...

Cape Town Gay Pride Festival 2013Cape Town Gay Pride

Celebrate LGBTQI rights with another round of rainbow-coloured parades, parties ...

GUILD International Design Fair Cape TownGUILD International Design Fair

This groundbreaking #WDC2014 legacy project is back at the V&A Waterfront with ...

Alien Safari Masqued BallAlien Safari: Masqued Ball Trance Party

Dress up and explore the Kingdom of Hearts at one of summer’s wildest outdoor ...

Constantia Fresh Food & Wine Festival at BuitenverqachtingConstantia Fresh Wine Festival

Sip and swirl fine wines at Buitenverwachting in the Mother City’s most ...

Abbott Nu Jazz Band at SotanoFriday Jazz Dinner at Sotano

Start the weekend in style with soulful beats and supreme fare at this Atlantic ...

Community Chest Carnival at Maynardville Park in WynbergCommunity Chest Carnival at ...

Treat the little ones to a fun-filled day of family-friendly entertainment at ...

Nik Rabinowitz What the EFF at the Fugard Theatre Nik Rabinowitz’s Stand-up Comedy Show

Have a hearty laugh at this Capetonian comedian’s politically inspired new ...

Table MountainBat Run in Cape Town

We triple dare you to try this three-peak night-time trail run up the Mother ...

Bubbles and Braai at Grande RocheBubbles and Braai at Grande Roche Hotel

Experience South Africa’s favourite pastime with a sparkly twist at this fine ...

Kfm K Day Music Festival K-Day Music Festival

South Africa’s top musos bring the groove to Newlands Stadium for a day of ...

Trevor Noah Stand-Up Comedian South AfricaTrevor Noah Comedy Show in Cape Town

Local funnyman heads back to Mzansi to unveil his latest comedic performance

Pool Party at Shimmy Beach ClubSaturday Pool Party at Shimmy Beach Club

Savour a splashing good time every summer weekend with smooth beats by star DJs ...

Oude Libertas Summer Music FestivalOude Libertas Summer Season Festival

Catch this series of Stellenbosch music concerts showcasing some of the finest ...

Robertson Wine Valley 03Robertson Hands-on Harvest Festival

Route 62’s popular food and wine affair returns in 2015 for two whole months ...

Wembley Tap Craft Beer Bar PatioOutdoor Weekend Braais at Wembley Tap ...

Enjoy beer and barbequed meat every Friday and Saturday afternoon at this ...

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

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

Art of the Brick Lego ManThe Art of the Brick Lego Exhibition in ...

Don’t miss the world-renowned expo at the V&A Waterfront that transforms a ...

Craft beer from The Taproom Salt RiverSaturday Brunch at The Taproom

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

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 WoodstockDie Platteland Market at The Palms

Bringing country food to city tables every Saturday in Woodstock

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 ...

Tyrannosaurus Rex at Dinosaur ExhibitionDinosAlive Dinosaur Exhibition & Play ...

Grab the kiddies and jump back to the Jurassic period at this awesome ...

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

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

Hazendal new 7Saturday Picnics at Hermitage Restaurant

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

Happy Hour at Mojitos2-for-1 Burger Special at Cafe Mojito

Grab two mouth-watering burgers for less than R60 every Wednesday at Long ...

Jason Mraz SA Concerts 02Jason Mraz Concert in Cape Town

Grammy award-winning American singer-songwriter brings his brand of ...

Barnyard Theatre Willowbridge 80s RewindBarnyard Theatre’s 80s Rewind Party

Take a trip down musical memory lane with this rocking fiesta

That Art Fair in Cape Town That Art Fair Expo in Cape Town

See emerging and established African artists showcase their thought-provoking ...

Tribal TattooCape Town Tattoo Convention

Due to unforeseen and unfortunate circumstances, the 2015 Cape Town Tattoo ...

feastofthegrape1Feast of The Grape

Drink in all that the Durbanville wine route has to offer at the valley’s ...

Century City Sports FestivalCentury City Sports Festival

Discover the fun side of life at Century City with an action-packed weekend of ...

Design Indaba Cape TownDesign Indaba Expo, Conference & ...

Browse through cutting-edge examples of design at Mzansi’s foremost creative ...

Eikendal Weintaufe Harvest CelebrationEikendal Weintaufe Harvest Celebration

Enjoy a stomping great time at this annual grape stompfest in the Stellenbosch ...

Jazz on the Rocks Tieties Bay PaternosterJazz on the Rocks

Gear up for a lekker time along the West Coast at this beloved beachside ...

Greek salad at 15 on Orange ayce buffetSunday Lunch at Savour Restaurant

Tuck into the African Pride 15 on Orange Hotel’s lavish buffet and bottomless ...

Beerhouse roast special 2Rock and Roast Sundays at Beerhouse

Pair a pint or two with traditional trimmings and some quality acoustic tunes ...

GUILD International Design Fair Cape TownGUILD International Design Fair

This groundbreaking #WDC2014 legacy project is back at the V&A Waterfront with ...

Alien Safari Masqued BallAlien Safari: Masqued Ball Trance Party

Dress up and explore the Kingdom of Hearts at one of summer’s wildest outdoor ...

Kirstenbosch Summer Sunset ConcertsKirstenbosch Summer Sunset Concerts

Prepare yourself for a scintillating smorgasbord of Sunday sunset live music ...

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

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

Nik Rabinowitz What the EFF at the Fugard Theatre Nik Rabinowitz’s Stand-up Comedy Show

Have a hearty laugh at this Capetonian comedian’s politically inspired new ...

Oude Libertas Summer Music FestivalOude Libertas Summer Season Festival

Catch this series of Stellenbosch music concerts showcasing some of the finest ...

Robertson Wine Valley 03Robertson Hands-on Harvest Festival

Route 62’s popular food and wine affair returns in 2015 for two whole months ...

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 ...

seal snorkeling diver and seals 2Seal Snorkelling Sunday Special with ...

Get free use of a GoPro Hero 2 underwater camera when you book this incredible ...

Camissa Gospel Tour 4Sunday Gospel Experience with Camissa

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

sotano2Sunday Happy Hour and Live Music at ...

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

Art of the Brick Lego ManThe Art of the Brick Lego Exhibition in ...

Don’t miss the world-renowned expo at the V&A Waterfront that transforms a ...

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

Sample a sterling selection of vintages at this acclaimed Winelands destination

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 ...

sea kayaking 12 apostlesSea Kayaking Sunday Family Special

Learn to paddle, enjoy the views and see amazing marine life at a special ...

Sunset from Blues Restaurant DeckBlues Restaurant’s Seaside Sunday ...

See out the weekend with a relaxed seafood meal at the Camps Bay eatery ...

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

Woordefees in Stellenbosch Woordfees Festival in Stellenbosch

Head to the City of Oakes for a literary and art overload when this annual ...

ABSA Cape Epic MTB Challenge Cycle RaceCape Epic MTB Challenge Cycle Race: The ...

See 1200 of the globe’s best mountain bikers race against time for a starting ...

The Night Harvest in Hout Bay The Night Harvest BMX & MTB Competition ...

Burgeoning International and local adrenaline junkies on two wheels whiz around ...

Fat Harry's Craft Beer Restaurant in Cape TownFat Harry’s Restaurant and Bar in ...

Cape Town’s Southern Suburbs welcomes a handsome new craft beer pub ...

Romantic Restaurants (Azure) in Cape TownAzure Restaurant at The Twelve Apostles ...

Destination special occasion: the fine dining eatery where memories are made

Craft beer from The Taproom Salt RiverSaturday Brunch at The Taproom

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

Devil's Peak craft beers at the taproomThe Taproom Craft Beer Pub & Restaurant ...

The distinguished Devil's Peak Brewing Company local in the heart of Salt River

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Take part in our Giveaway Madness competitions and walk away with crazy ...

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