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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Red Bull King of the Air surferRed Bull King of the Air Kiteboarding ...

Check out the world’s top wave riders battle it out to catch the biggest airs ...

Up the Creek Breede RiverUp the Creek Music Festival

One river, three stages, four days, loads of local music and barrels of laughs

Origin electronic dance festival 2013Origin Electronic Music Festival

Things are set to get seriously stomp-tastic at this three-day trance party ...

Othello at Maynardville Park Shakespeare in the Park at Maynardville ...

See Shakespeare’s well-known tale of passion, love and jealousy, Othello, ...

David Kramer's Orpheus in Africa 1 Orpheus in Africa at the Fugard Theatre

The new proudly South African musical from writer/ director David Kramer

Darling Music Experience Classical FestivalDarling Music Experience

This picturesque West Coast dorpie celebrates classical and contemporary ...

Oude Libertas Summer Music FestivalOude Libertas Summer Season Festival

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

orchestra1Cape Town International Summer Music ...

Be entranced by some of classical music’s finest soloists at the Cape Town ...

Stellenbosch Wine Festival LOGOStellenbosch Wine Festival

Enjoy the fruits of the Boland Winelands at this annual three-day ...

delheim2Delheim Start of Harvest Festival

Enjoy a foot-stomping grape time with the whole family at this Stellenbosch ...

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

Take a trip down musical memory lane with this rocking fiesta

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

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

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 ...

Battlefield Live Corporate LogoTeam Building with Battlefield Live SA

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

Kirstenbosch Summer Sunset ConcertsKirstenbosch Summer Sunset Concerts

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

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 ...

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

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

Beerhouse roast special 2Rock and Roast Sundays at Beerhouse

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

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

Sample a sterling selection of vintages at this acclaimed Winelands destination

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

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

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

Red Bull King of the Air surferRed Bull King of the Air Kiteboarding ...

Check out the world’s top wave riders battle it out to catch the biggest airs ...

Creative coffee morningCreativeMornings Cape Town

One free hour of inspiration with theatre legend and performer Pieter Dirk-Uys

BarleycornBarleycorn Music Club

39 years of supporting and nurturing SA’s best local and original music

Othello at Maynardville Park Shakespeare in the Park at Maynardville ...

See Shakespeare’s well-known tale of passion, love and jealousy, Othello, ...

David Kramer's Orpheus in Africa 1 Orpheus in Africa at the Fugard Theatre

The new proudly South African musical from writer/ director David Kramer

Darling Music Experience Classical FestivalDarling Music Experience

This picturesque West Coast dorpie celebrates classical and contemporary ...

Oude Libertas Summer Music FestivalOude Libertas Summer Season Festival

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

orchestra1Cape Town International Summer Music ...

Be entranced by some of classical music’s finest soloists at the Cape Town ...

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

Take a trip down musical memory lane with this rocking fiesta

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 ...

Battlefield Live Corporate LogoTeam Building with Battlefield Live SA

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

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

Be sure to add this brain-teasing challenge to your Mother City bucket list

Ways of wellnessMonday Teeth Whitening Special at Ways ...

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

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 ...

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

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

Thai Sabai Day Spas Somerset WestThai Sabai’s Day Spa Special

Indulge in a relaxing Lotus Flower Hot Oil Massage, a light lunch and a fruit ...

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

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

Sunday Roast at Wild Fig Romantic Restaurant2-for-1 Monday Restaurant Special at ...

Grab a partner and enjoy a charming country lunch or dinner for as little as ...

Monday Life Drawing Classes at Bright Art StudioLife Drawing Classes at Bright Day

Capture the beauty of the human body in all its shapes, forms and sizes

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

Formula 1 Cape Town-7Formula 1 Set to Come to Cape Town in ...

Will we see an F1 Grand Prix tear up the Mother City’s tarmac in the near ...

10 Questions for Siya Kolisi10 Questions For: Siya Kolisi

This much-loved Stormers and Western Province rugby player has been making ...

Mike Rosenberg PassengerPassenger Concert in Cape Town

‘Let Her Go’ singer makes his way to Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden ...

Endless Summer Beachhouse47 Awesome To- Dos That Should Be on ...

What better way to make the most of this time of year than by exploring the ...

river club greensThe River Club in Cape Town

The reinvigorated, all-in-one practice playground that wants you to have a ...

Fit Chef LCHF-friendly shopLose It! Magazine’s Banting Bazaar in ...

Socialise with fellow Tim Noakes devotees and shop for LCHF fare and products ...

Grande Roche exteriorValentine’s Day Dinner at Grande ...

Enjoy a magical evening and toast to your amore at this gorgeous Paarl valley ...

Lounge furniture from Eco Furniture Decor online storeEco Furniture Design Store in Cape Town

First-class designer furniture at second-hand rates

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