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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Quaglino's Restaurant Duck and Steak Tartare Cape Town2-for-1 Dinner Special at Quaglino’s ...

Order two main meals and pay for only one every Monday night at Mouille ...

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Barleycorn Music Club Mondays Barleycorn Music Club

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Ndilinde Stage Production in Cape Town Ndilinde Dance Performance in Cape Town

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Cape Town City Ballet 2Cape Town City Ballet’s ‘The ...

It’s a play without words but the dancing will move you

Reach for a dream slipper dayReach for your Slippers Campaign

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Cape Town Funny Festival LogoCape Town Funny Festival

Expect barrels of guffaws at the Mother City’s laugh-out-loud comedy fiesta

Lola's Winter Lunch Specials BurgersWinter Lunch Specials at Lola’s in ...

Get two main meals for only R95 any weekday during the chilly season at this ...

HintHunt Escape Game LogoCape Town’s Most Mysterious Tourist ...

Be sure to add this exhilarating escape game challenge to your Mother City ...

offline lifestyle storefrontLadies’ Gym Clothes Special at ...

Get a 20% discount on women’s fitness apparel at this sportswear store every ...

Ways of Wellness Spa ExteriorMonday Teeth Whitening Special at Ways ...

Start the week with a lustrous smile thanks to Cape Town’s only organic ...

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The Piano Bar Tapas in Cape TownDate Night at The Piano Bar in Cape Town

Enjoy your choice of four delicious tapas plus a bottle of house red or white ...

HipHopFest 4Cape Town Hip-Hop Festival Auditions

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West Side Story 6West Side Story at the Artscape Opera ...

Travel to New York’s Upper West Side in the 1950s to witness the modern Romeo ...

Indochine Winter TableThe Winter Table at Indochine at ...

Enjoy the delicate flavours of Asian cuisine at the chic, modern restaurant of ...

The Celebration 2Madame Zingara’s Celebration at the ...

The magical dinner cirque theatre will set up camp in Cape Town once again, ...

Leopards Leap Cooking ClassesCooking Classes at Leopard’s Leap ...

Unleash your inner Heston in the beauteous surrounds of this Stellenbosch ...

Nature's Best Photography Africa ExhibitionNature’s Best Photography Africa ...

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Shimmy Winter Glow Restaurant EditionWinter Glow Restaurant Edition at ...

Get ready to shine this cold season with this series of preeminent music and ...

Winter Glow Club EditionWinter Glow Club Edition at Shimmy ...

Get ready to glow this chilly season with this series of preeminent music and ...

Fairview Goatshed Food and Wine Themed EveningsFairview’s Goatshed Restaurant’s ...

Get your hands dirty and make your own pizza, or taste something new at these ...

The Point Shopping Mall Sea Point Cape TownHair Extensions Special at Yemaya Day ...

Save some moola at this upmarket salon and house of beauty with this exclusive ...

Conquest School of Driving Cape TownConquest’s Driving Lessons

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hudsons burger joint sliders2-for-1 Happy Hour Food & Drinks ...

Wind down from a hard day’s work with buy-one-get-one-free appetisers, beers ...

avontuur wine estate entrance 2Self-guided Tour & Wine Tasting at ...

Indulge in a super affordable farm walk and sip-and-swirl session at the ...

2-for-1 burger special on Monday at they odysseyMonday Burger Special at The Odyssey ...

Tuck into two prime patties for only R100 at this handsome Bree Street bar

saflag1Things to Do on Women's Day in Cape Town

Commemorate those fearless females of the past by celebrating the present with ...

Sharks BreachingGreat White Shark Diving and Breaching ...

To actually witness a shark breach is an extremely rare experience

Cafe Caprice 2-for-1 Burger Special Cape Town2-for-1 Burger Special at Café Caprice ...

Camps Bay’s darling dishes up a duo of patties for the price of one every ...

Ndilinde Stage Production in Cape Town Ndilinde Dance Performance in Cape Town

Watch a dance interpretation of eight women’s journeys as they explore issues ...

Cape Town City Ballet 2Cape Town City Ballet’s ‘The ...

It’s a play without words but the dancing will move you

Reach for a dream slipper dayReach for your Slippers Campaign

Help a child fight a grave illness by simply exchanging your slops and ...

Cape Town Funny Festival LogoCape Town Funny Festival

Expect barrels of guffaws at the Mother City’s laugh-out-loud comedy fiesta

The Foreign Exchange Bar Quiz NightTrivia Night at The Foreign Exchange Bar

Test your general knowledge at this Observatory-based haunt’s Tuesday pub quiz

Borage Bistro SaladThe Everyman’s Bistro Lunch at Borage ...

Everyone’s invited for a sublime midday meal at this easy-going CBD eatery

Tapas at Charcoal Dining Restaurant Cape TownTapas Special at Charcoal Dining ...

Indulge in five tasting plates for two for just R200 every Tuesday at this ...

The Blend Egg and Bacon MuffinBreakfast Restaurant Special at The ...

Start your Tuesday morning with a coffee and an egg and bacon muffin for only ...

ratanga function venue 8Host a Corporate Function at Ratanga ...

Throw a classy soirée or a raucous party at the “Wildest Place in Africa”

Battlefield Live SA Laser Tag Team Building Cape TownTeam Building with Battlefield Live SA

Corporates become commandos in this adrenaline-inducing, morale-boosting laser ...

Hang time gym 3Indoor rock climbing specials at ...

Make the most of what this sport centre has to offer with these sweet deals

Manicure at Yemaya Spa Sea PointFacial Spa Special at Yemaya Spa & Hair

Indulge in one of two rehydrating facials and get a FREE nail treatment

SANParks Tankwa NP FlowersYour Guide to Viewing the Spring ...

Don’t miss the chance to get up close and personal with South Africa’s ...

HipHopFest 4Cape Town Hip-Hop Festival Auditions

Calling all hip-hop acts in the Mother City, this is your time to show off your ...

HQ Date logoTuesday Romantic Date Night at HQ ...

Treat your loved one to an evening of succulent steaks, red wine and romantic ...

West Side Story 6West Side Story at the Artscape Opera ...

Travel to New York’s Upper West Side in the 1950s to witness the modern Romeo ...

Indochine Winter TableThe Winter Table at Indochine at ...

Enjoy the delicate flavours of Asian cuisine at the chic, modern restaurant of ...

The Celebration 2Madame Zingara’s Celebration at the ...

The magical dinner cirque theatre will set up camp in Cape Town once again, ...

Leopards Leap Cooking ClassesCooking Classes at Leopard’s Leap ...

Unleash your inner Heston in the beauteous surrounds of this Stellenbosch ...

Nature's Best Photography Africa ExhibitionNature’s Best Photography Africa ...

Witness the evocative beauty of the African wilderness exquisitely photographed ...

Shimmy Winter Glow Restaurant EditionWinter Glow Restaurant Edition at ...

Get ready to shine this cold season with this series of preeminent music and ...

Winter Glow Club EditionWinter Glow Club Edition at Shimmy ...

Get ready to glow this chilly season with this series of preeminent music and ...

Fairview Goatshed Food and Wine Themed EveningsFairview’s Goatshed Restaurant’s ...

Get your hands dirty and make your own pizza, or taste something new at these ...

KIN Present Store in City Centre CPTShop for ‘That Special Something’ ...

You’ll find cool gifts for guys and gals galore at this reservoir of ...

Om Revolution garden yogaPrivate Yoga Classes Special from The ...

Score FREE super cool and useful yoga accessories when you sign up for six ...

Swordfern Hair and Beauty Salon 5Half-Price Men’s Haircut at Swordfern ...

Every Tuesday this trendy wellness studio trims 50% off its ‘Be a ...

kloof street house burger special 22-for-1 Burger Lunch Special at Kloof ...

Make the most of your midday meal with this sweet bun and patty deal from the ...

Parakito Natural Repellant for Babies & Pregnant WomenPara’Kito Natural Mosquito Repellent ...

Get an exclusive readers’ discount on this cutting-edge European brand’s ...

the taproom in salt river cape town devil's peak brewing companyTaproom Tuesday Burger and Beer Special

Enjoy a cheeseburger and craft beer combo for just R50 while listening to live ...

High tea at the Twelve Apostles HotelHigh Tea by the Sea at The Twelve ...

A must-do with a view in dearest Cape Town

Truffle Halal Restaurant Steak Cape TownLunch and Dinner Special at Truffle ...

Treat yourself to a two-course meal for just R120 every Tuesday at one of Cape ...

Live Jazz Music at Asoka on TuesdayLive Jazz at Asoka Restaurant

Turn your Tuesday up a notch with this trendy hotspot’s vibey dinner and ...

Eggs Benedict from Latitude 332-for-1 Eggs Benedict Breakfast Special ...

Buy one and get the other free at this Bree Street restaurant every Tuesday

Marcel's Frozen Yogurt Wrapped Bar Turkish Delight8 Unusual Things You Can Do With ...

FroYo your old ideas to the wind and check out our collection of off-centre ...

Chilli Poppers and tapas from Orinoco Bree StreetHalf-price Tapas Tuesdays at Orinoco ...

Tuck into twice the Latin American flavour for once the price at this vibrant ...

river club green 2Beer, Balls and Burger Special at The ...

Practise your swing and tuck into a delicious hamburger and lager combo every ...

Auslese Private Events and Function VenueAuslese Function Venue: Just What the ...

The exclusive food and wine pairing space that caters for parties, events and ...

Cafe Caprice Camps Bay Sea ViewCafé Caprice in Camps Bay

The easy, breezy oceanfront institution that’s so much more than just a ...

Silent Disco at Nu BarSilent Disco with MFM 92.6 at Nu Bar

Join the craze that’s sweeping the nation, with every guest dancing to a ...

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And Bikes Boutique and Cafe in Cape TownA Cyclist’s Wonderland at &Bikes Cafe ...

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Quaglino's Restaurant Duck and Steak Tartare Cape Town2-for-1 Dinner Special at Quaglino’s ...

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The Piano Bar Tapas in Cape TownDate Night at The Piano Bar in Cape Town

Enjoy your choice of four delicious tapas plus a bottle of house red or white ...

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