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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cafe Roux SessionsCafé Roux Sessions in Noordhoek

Enjoy an intimate evening of live music with South Africa’s most talented ...

OCAL Running for ChangeRunning for Change 10-km Charity Run

Bid farewell and support the 12 member team who will run to Pretoria for charity

District Six Kanala Musical in Cape Town District Six - Kanala Musical

David Kramer brings another lekker local production to the Mother City

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 ...

Infecting the CityInfecting the City Sessions in Cape Town

See cutting edge performance and visual arts hit the public spaces of the ...

Andalucian NightsAndalucian Nights at the Baxter Theatre

Listen to the sounds of Spain with acoustic flamenco flair

Cape Town PrideThe Knysna Pink Loerie

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Suidoosterfees 2015 Suidoosterfees in Cape Town

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Cape Town Concert SeriesCape Town Concert Series at the Baxter ...

Add a sweet melody to the end of your summer with these stirring and soulful ...

High Five Kite Surfer in Cape TownKitesurfing Lessons Special

Learn to kitesurf but leave the soaring costs behind

Quad Biking back safari Aquila Game ParkQuad Bike Safari at Aquila Game Reserve

Get up close and personal with South Africa’s animal kingdom on an ...

Rafikis CocktailsThursday Half-Price Cocktail Special ...

As if you needed another reason to visit this laidback bar, cocktails are half ...

Galileo Open Air Cinema Cape TownThe Galileo Open Air Cinema in the Cape ...

Grab some snacks and get ready to watch your favourite films beneath the stars ...

Avontuur Wine Estate entrance Specialised Tastings at Avontuur Wine ...

Spice up your winery experience with one of these delectable monthly pairings

The Galileo Open Air Theatre V&A WaterfrontThe Galileo Open Air Cinema at the V&A ...

Get your weekly dose of classics, dramas, action movies and more at these ...

Peter Falke Wine Farm Winter MenuWinter Wine and Food Pairings at Peter ...

Warm your belly with robust reds and savoury snacks at this whimsical boutique ...

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Discover the rich history of Cape Town’s CBD in an active, engaging way with ...

Forex Foreign Exchange Beer Pong ObservatoryBeer Pong Night at The Foreign Exchange ...

Give this fun-filled drinking game a go every Thursday night in Observatory

AfrikaBurn1Afrikaburn Festival

The dusty Karoo desert comes alive to host one of the most radical festivals on ...

Damn Vandal Art ExhibitionDamn Vandal ‘Other Worldly’ ...

Gorgeous graffiti-inspired artworks await at this urban-style exhibit

Pool deck at the African Pride Crystal Towers Hotel & SpaHalf-price Sushi Special at African ...

Get 50% off this Century City restaurant’s sushi and selected cocktails every ...

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

Excentric InteriorShellac Manicure-centric and ...

Spoil yourself with one of these signature nail treatments and receive a 25% ...

McGregor Poetry FestivalMcGregor Poetry Festival

The perfect fest for aspiring poets and lovers of words

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 ...

Love Factually - 2Alan Committie in Love Factually

Love to be in love? Love to laugh? Then Alan Committie is your knight in ...

City Hall by Joshua OatesAutumn Symphony Season

A classical way to spend an autumn evening in the city

Backtracker Cycling Back UnitCycling Events in the Western Cape

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

blokes-hair-foundry-logo.jpgFake Fridays Haircut Special at Blokes ...

Pair a bespoke haircut with a cold beer every Thursday for just R190

The Underwater ExhibitionUnderwater Cape Town Exhibition

A kaleidoscope of skin comes to life in a popular pool

District Six KlassiqueDistrict Six Klassique Concert with the ...

This tribute to David Kramer and Taliep Pietersen’s classic is set to be an ...

La Boheme District SixLa Boheme in District Six

A bohemian opera meets a bohemian district in this beautiful portrayal of a ...

I'm the Girl who was RapedLaunch of I'm the Girl Who Was Raped by ...

Listen to one woman’s brave account of her journey back to self after being ...

Afrika Ablaze Unchained DanceAfrika Ablaze Unchained Dance Showcase

Imagine receiving a gift you can never open…

Woman King 2The Woman Who Would Be King

Esosa E takes you back nearly 4000 years…

Folk Coffee Anthropology Front ExteriorHalf Price Coffee Cocktail Special at ...

Enjoy 50% off all java-inspired concoctions every Thursday at this Bree Street ...

V&A Waterfront Get Active OutdoorsGet Fit for Free at the V&A Waterfront

Make getting fit fun (and free) this summer with this super series of classes

Scootours FamilyJunior Passengers Ride FREE Every ...

This family-friendly off-road adventure will see you (and the whole clan) ...

[spasie] signChef’s Table at [spasie] Underground ...

Go underground for an intimate food and wine pairing with some of the ...

cafe Roux SessionsCafé Roux Sessions in Noordhoek

Enjoy an intimate evening of live music with South Africa’s most talented ...

OCAL Running for ChangeRunning for Change 10-km Charity Run

Bid farewell and support the 12 member team who will run to Pretoria for charity

District Six Kanala Musical in Cape Town District Six - Kanala Musical

David Kramer brings another lekker local production to the Mother City

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 ...

Infecting the CityInfecting the City Sessions in Cape Town

See cutting edge performance and visual arts hit the public spaces of the ...

Andalucian NightsAndalucian Nights at the Baxter Theatre

Listen to the sounds of Spain with acoustic flamenco flair

Cape Town PrideThe Knysna Pink Loerie

Celebrate gay pride in the Garden Route’s queen city

Suidoosterfees 2015 Suidoosterfees in Cape Town

Celebrate Kaapse culture and heritage with a series of colourful concerts, ...

Cape Town Concert SeriesCape Town Concert Series at the Baxter ...

Add a sweet melody to the end of your summer with these stirring and soulful ...

High Five Kite Surfer in Cape TownKitesurfing Lessons Special

Learn to kitesurf but leave the soaring costs behind

Quad Biking back safari Aquila Game ParkQuad Bike Safari at Aquila Game Reserve

Get up close and personal with South Africa’s animal kingdom on an ...

Rafikis CocktailsThursday Half-Price Cocktail Special ...

As if you needed another reason to visit this laidback bar, cocktails are half ...

Galileo Open Air Cinema Cape TownThe Galileo Open Air Cinema in the Cape ...

Grab some snacks and get ready to watch your favourite films beneath the stars ...

Avontuur Wine Estate entrance Specialised Tastings at Avontuur Wine ...

Spice up your winery experience with one of these delectable monthly pairings

The Galileo Open Air Theatre V&A WaterfrontThe Galileo Open Air Cinema at the V&A ...

Get your weekly dose of classics, dramas, action movies and more at these ...

Peter Falke Wine Farm Winter MenuWinter Wine and Food Pairings at Peter ...

Warm your belly with robust reds and savoury snacks at this whimsical boutique ...

AWOL-City-cycle-tour-6.jpgCape Town City Cycle Tour with AWOL ...

Discover the rich history of Cape Town’s CBD in an active, engaging way with ...

Forex Foreign Exchange Beer Pong ObservatoryBeer Pong Night at The Foreign Exchange ...

Give this fun-filled drinking game a go every Thursday night in Observatory

AfrikaBurn1Afrikaburn Festival

The dusty Karoo desert comes alive to host one of the most radical festivals on ...

Damn Vandal Art ExhibitionDamn Vandal ‘Other Worldly’ ...

Gorgeous graffiti-inspired artworks await at this urban-style exhibit

Pool deck at the African Pride Crystal Towers Hotel & SpaHalf-price Sushi Special at African ...

Get 50% off this Century City restaurant’s sushi and selected cocktails every ...

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

Excentric InteriorShellac Manicure-centric and ...

Spoil yourself with one of these signature nail treatments and receive a 25% ...

McGregor Poetry FestivalMcGregor Poetry Festival

The perfect fest for aspiring poets and lovers of words

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 ...

Love Factually - 2Alan Committie in Love Factually

Love to be in love? Love to laugh? Then Alan Committie is your knight in ...

City Hall by Joshua OatesAutumn Symphony Season

A classical way to spend an autumn evening in the city

Backtracker Cycling Back UnitCycling Events in the Western Cape

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

blokes-hair-foundry-logo.jpgFake Fridays Haircut Special at Blokes ...

Pair a bespoke haircut with a cold beer every Thursday for just R190

The Underwater ExhibitionUnderwater Cape Town Exhibition

A kaleidoscope of skin comes to life in a popular pool

District Six KlassiqueDistrict Six Klassique Concert with the ...

This tribute to David Kramer and Taliep Pietersen’s classic is set to be an ...

La Boheme District SixLa Boheme in District Six

A bohemian opera meets a bohemian district in this beautiful portrayal of a ...

I'm the Girl who was RapedLaunch of I'm the Girl Who Was Raped by ...

Listen to one woman’s brave account of her journey back to self after being ...

Afrika Ablaze Unchained DanceAfrika Ablaze Unchained Dance Showcase

Imagine receiving a gift you can never open…

Woman King 2The Woman Who Would Be King

Esosa E takes you back nearly 4000 years…

Folk Coffee Anthropology Front ExteriorHalf Price Coffee Cocktail Special at ...

Enjoy 50% off all java-inspired concoctions every Thursday at this Bree Street ...

V&A Waterfront Get Active OutdoorsGet Fit for Free at the V&A Waterfront

Make getting fit fun (and free) this summer with this super series of classes

Scootours FamilyJunior Passengers Ride FREE Every ...

This family-friendly off-road adventure will see you (and the whole clan) ...

[spasie] signChef’s Table at [spasie] Underground ...

Go underground for an intimate food and wine pairing with some of the ...

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Namaqualand Flower FestivalNamaqualand Flower Festival

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Slava's Snowshow - 2Slava’s Snowshow

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I See You at the FugardI See You at The Fugard Theatre

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Cheap as Chips 3Cheap as Chips Market

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aMadoda_Interior1.jpgaMadoda: Woodstock’s Chilled out ...

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