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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Clybourne Park at The FugardUpcoming Plays that You Don’t Want to ...

Cape Town has a sensational theatre culture and we invite you to sample the ...

icehockey1South African Ice Hockey Super League ...

Get your winter jersey on and watch the gloves come off as this ice hockey ...

Taxi Hand Signs Susan Woolf ExhibitionTaxi Hand Signs by Susan Woolf

Gaze upon incredible artworks that are accessible to the blind

21 July Quiet Violence of Dreams Exhibition 3The Quiet Violence of Dreams Exhibition ...

Artists from across the globe use their craft to pay tribute to this novelist ...

Groot Constantia Trail SeriesGroot Constantia Trail Series in Cape ...

Traverse the beautiful trails in Cape Town’s Southern Suburbs at one of these ...

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

Taste exquisite dishes from specially-crafted menus at one of these warm winter ...

Cape Town Funny Festival LogoJive Cape Town Funny Festival at the ...

The comedy festival that has Capetonians keeled over, for four weeks, returns

Murder Mystery Dinners in Cape TownMurder Mystery Dinner Parties Cape Town

Intrigue, secrecy and cold-blooded killings are the order of the day at these ...

La Mer Restaurant at Radisson Blu Hotel in Sea PointFree Dessert Special at La Mer ...

Indulge in any main course at this elegant Sea Point eatery and get a ...

Postcard view of Cape Town South AfricaHelicopter Tour Special with NAC Cape ...

Save 15% on breathtaking private helicopter flights around the Mother City ...

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 ...

Sewing Through Sisterhood - Suzani ExhibitionSewing Paradise: A Sisterhood Through ...

Glimpse paradise through these special styles of textiles

DARG Mandela DayMandela Month at DARG

Lend a paw this Mandela Day and show a furry friend some love

Nederburg 1Nederburg Concert Series

Everyone needs the sound of classical music and the lovely taste of Nederburg ...

Winter World Class Burger Pairing at Café CapriceWinter World Class Burger Pairing at ...

Four bartenders battle it out for World Class domination with their brilliant ...

River Club 2016 4Monday Conference Madness at the River ...

Book a Full-day Conference Package at this gorgeous green and save 20%

Spur Winter Trail Run SeriesThe 2016 Spur Winter Trail Series®

Run wild and free this winter with this top-notch trail series

Snow World 5Snow World Snow Park at GrandWest

It’s finally going to snow in Cape Town!

Optical Diversion ExhibitionOptical Diversion Exhibition at ...

Venture into a world of abstraction with this eye-catching show

Cape Town Youth Choir Handel's Messiah 1SA College of Music Concert Series

Music has the power to inspire, and these scholars appreciate its true meaning

The Village Idiot Restaurant & Bar in Cape TownSunday Winter Craftsmen Braai at The ...

Celebrate the last day of the week with blazing fires and epic food experiences ...

My Fair LadyMy Fair Lady at Artscape

With a little bit of luck you’ll dance all night after seeing this loverly ...

Backtracker Cycling Back UnitCycling Events in the Western Cape

Use this handy cycling overview to diarise your favourite events for the ...

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 ginger ...

Slug & Lettuce Kloof Street Bar and Restaurant in Cape TownAll Week 2-for-1 Burger Special at the ...

Score two mouth-watering burgers for the price of one at this popular CBD haunt

Tin Noakes Diet Salad from Rcaffe menuRcaffe's Tim Noakes Diet Menu Specials

This lovable Long Street restaurant’s new offering is perfect for those on ...

Milkshake fire and ice 1Milkshake Mondays at Protea Hotel Fire ...

Shake off those start-of-the-week blues at the Mother City’s funkiest hotel ...

Clybourne Park at The FugardUpcoming Plays that You Don’t Want to ...

Cape Town has a sensational theatre culture and we invite you to sample the ...

icehockey1South African Ice Hockey Super League ...

Get your winter jersey on and watch the gloves come off as this ice hockey ...

Taxi Hand Signs Susan Woolf ExhibitionTaxi Hand Signs by Susan Woolf

Gaze upon incredible artworks that are accessible to the blind

21 July Quiet Violence of Dreams Exhibition 3The Quiet Violence of Dreams Exhibition ...

Artists from across the globe use their craft to pay tribute to this novelist ...

Groot Constantia Trail SeriesGroot Constantia Trail Series in Cape ...

Traverse the beautiful trails in Cape Town’s Southern Suburbs at one of these ...

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

Taste exquisite dishes from specially-crafted menus at one of these warm winter ...

Cape Town Funny Festival LogoJive Cape Town Funny Festival at the ...

The comedy festival that has Capetonians keeled over, for four weeks, returns

Murder Mystery Dinners in Cape TownMurder Mystery Dinner Parties Cape Town

Intrigue, secrecy and cold-blooded killings are the order of the day at these ...

La Mer Restaurant at Radisson Blu Hotel in Sea PointFree Dessert Special at La Mer ...

Indulge in any main course at this elegant Sea Point eatery and get a ...

Postcard view of Cape Town South AfricaHelicopter Tour Special with NAC Cape ...

Save 15% on breathtaking private helicopter flights around the Mother City ...

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 ...

Sewing Through Sisterhood - Suzani ExhibitionSewing Paradise: A Sisterhood Through ...

Glimpse paradise through these special styles of textiles

DARG Mandela DayMandela Month at DARG

Lend a paw this Mandela Day and show a furry friend some love

Nederburg 1Nederburg Concert Series

Everyone needs the sound of classical music and the lovely taste of Nederburg ...

Winter World Class Burger Pairing at Café CapriceWinter World Class Burger Pairing at ...

Four bartenders battle it out for World Class domination with their brilliant ...

River Club 2016 4Monday Conference Madness at the River ...

Book a Full-day Conference Package at this gorgeous green and save 20%

Spur Winter Trail Run SeriesThe 2016 Spur Winter Trail Series®

Run wild and free this winter with this top-notch trail series

Snow World 5Snow World Snow Park at GrandWest

It’s finally going to snow in Cape Town!

Optical Diversion ExhibitionOptical Diversion Exhibition at ...

Venture into a world of abstraction with this eye-catching show

Cape Town Youth Choir Handel's Messiah 1SA College of Music Concert Series

Music has the power to inspire, and these scholars appreciate its true meaning

The Village Idiot Restaurant & Bar in Cape TownSunday Winter Craftsmen Braai at The ...

Celebrate the last day of the week with blazing fires and epic food experiences ...

My Fair LadyMy Fair Lady at Artscape

With a little bit of luck you’ll dance all night after seeing this loverly ...

Backtracker Cycling Back UnitCycling Events in the Western Cape

Use this handy cycling overview to diarise your favourite events for the ...

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 ginger ...

Slug & Lettuce Kloof Street Bar and Restaurant in Cape TownAll Week 2-for-1 Burger Special at the ...

Score two mouth-watering burgers for the price of one at this popular CBD haunt

Tin Noakes Diet Salad from Rcaffe menuRcaffe's Tim Noakes Diet Menu Specials

This lovable Long Street restaurant’s new offering is perfect for those on ...

Milkshake fire and ice 1Milkshake Mondays at Protea Hotel Fire ...

Shake off those start-of-the-week blues at the Mother City’s funkiest hotel ...

Jordan-Lee image 410 Questions For: Jordan-Lee Garbutt

Photographer Jordan-Lee Garbutt brings moments to life. His exceptional talent ...

Cape Town Club Basement Bar 3After Work Drinks at the Cape Town Club

End your week in style at the Mother City’s most prestigious clubhouse and bar

Cape Town Club Dining Room 2Cape Town Club on Queen Victoria Street

The Mother City’s oldest membership institution changes with the times

5 Aug Lekkeryoga Glow Party 4Glow Yoga Party presented by Lekkeryoga

Get down in the dark at this beaming bash

CosmoDisco Womens DayCosmoDisco Women’s Eve Party

Dance the night away with the ladies who spin your world around

Spring Wild Flowers at West Coast NP Western CapeWest Coast National Park Day Trip

Spend a day viewing this spectacular spring phenomenon on a guided tour

Winter Warmer Family FestivalWinter Warmer Family Festival

Warm up your winter with a little family love at this weekend market

HERO Expo 1HERO Expo

Everybody needs a hero on roller-skates

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