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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Rockville 2069 Rock Musical Artscape TheatreRockville 2069 Musical at the Artscape ...

Old school meets new school to create a groundbreaking sci-fi rock ‘n’ roll ...

spring into fynbos walksForage Harvest Feast

Channel your inner hunter-gatherer this winter with this unique Cape Peninsula ...

Matt Manning One Ingredient 7th FloorMatt Manning’s One Ingredient Pop-up ...

Learn how to prepare gourmet dishes while tucking into a four-course food and ...

GIPCA Drawing WorkshopGIPCA Live Art Festival

Catch 11 days of music, dance, theatre and more with this citywide festival

Fourth Dimension eventsSunflower Outdoor Music Festival

Welcome spring with this early season trance party at the Cape Town Ostrich ...

CosplayT-Fest Gaming and Cosplay Convention

Get your geek flag flying this August with a brand new gaming event

Club Unity 15 Years into the Future at Mercury LiveClub Unity presents 15 Years into the ...

Join the pioneers of one of Mzansi’s first super clubs at an epic EDM reunion ...

Clanwilliam-FlowerShow-4Clanwilliam Wild Flower Show

Experience the joie de vivre evoked by the West Coast’s springtime flora!

Asics Dirty Double Cycling and MTB Event in WellingtonAsics Dirty Double Trail Run & MTB Race

Traverse the scenic Wellington Winelands area with this trail run and cycling ...

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike at Theatre on the BayPieter Toerien Presents Vanya and Sonia ...

Catch this hysterical theatre production at Camps Bay's popular dinner theatre

African Hip-Hop Indaba Cape TownAfrican Hip-Hop Indaba

Rappers, dancers, B-Boys and more battle it out at Iconic Bar and the Good Hope ...

Cape Town Acoustic Festival theatreThe Cape Town Folk n Acoustic Music ...

Be dazzled by 24 of Mzansi’s talented singers and musicians at the Baxter ...

Old V&A Waterfront Grain Silo for Zeitz MOCCAZanele Muholi & Friends Photography ...

Explore the concept of ‘looking back’ at the V&A Waterfront’s new ...

Big Bottle FestivalBig Bottle Food and Wine Festival

It doesn't get bigger than this: big brands, culinary giants and monstrous ...

Wedding ConceptsTyger Valley Centre Bridal Experience ...

Brides and grooms get ready; the wedding season is upon us!

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

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

Rocky Horror Picture Show FugardRocky Horror Show at the Fugard Theatre

The timeless musical returns to Cape Town to give fans another round of racy ...

Barnyard Theatre Willowbridge Best Days of Our LivesMusic Tribute Show at the Barnyard ...

Rock the night away to five decades of top pop tunes at this Durbanville dinner ...

Battlefield Live Corporate LogoTeam Building with Battlefield Live SA

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

Design and Making: The Story of FoodDesign and Making Exhibition at the ...

Discover how the evolution of food sheds light on the history and ...

12 Rooms Exhibition with Leon at CCXIXTwelve Rooms Exhibition with Leon at ...

A dozen designers and decorators showcase their style at this furniture studio ...

Maboneng Township Arts Langa TagThe Langa TAG Township Arts Gallery Tour

Take a gander at local creations along this Cape Town township’s first ...

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

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

Craft beer from The Taproom Salt RiverSaturday Brunch at The Taproom

Kick back and refuel at Devil’s Peak Brewing Company’s chic eatery after a ...

Hopefield MTB Challenge 2014Hopefield MTB Challenge

Get pumped for a challenging but charming mountain bike race through one of the ...

Labels4Less Factory Shop Cape TownDiesel Jeans & Clothing Sale

Get an extra R50 off already marked-down designer denim, bags, belts, tops and ...

Camissa Eco TourThe Eco-friendly Train Township Tour ...

Grow more than just your cultural quotient on this interactive excursion to the ...

Lounge furniture from Eco Furniture Decor online storeEco Furniture Design Store Sale

Buy beautifully crafted wooden dining room, bedroom and patio pieces for a ...

Ladies Night at Gun Fun Cape TownFemme Fatale Saturdays at Gun Fun

Who said guns were only for guys?

Rockville 2069 Rock Musical Artscape TheatreRockville 2069 Musical at the Artscape ...

Old school meets new school to create a groundbreaking sci-fi rock ‘n’ roll ...

GIPCA Drawing WorkshopGIPCA Live Art Festival

Catch 11 days of music, dance, theatre and more with this citywide festival

Fourth Dimension eventsSunflower Outdoor Music Festival

Welcome spring with this early season trance party at the Cape Town Ostrich ...

Western Cape Junior Magicians ChampionshipThe Junior Magician Championship

Abracadabra! Prepare to be amazed at the young magicians’ battle of the wands ...

Cold TurkeyCold Turkey

The Mother City’s fortnightly beat boogie returns to its new home at The ...

Clanwilliam-FlowerShow-4Clanwilliam Wild Flower Show

Experience the joie de vivre evoked by the West Coast’s springtime flora!

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike at Theatre on the BayPieter Toerien Presents Vanya and Sonia ...

Catch this hysterical theatre production at Camps Bay's popular dinner theatre

Old V&A Waterfront Grain Silo for Zeitz MOCCAZanele Muholi & Friends Photography ...

Explore the concept of ‘looking back’ at the V&A Waterfront’s new ...

Wedding ConceptsTyger Valley Centre Bridal Experience ...

Brides and grooms get ready; the wedding season is upon us!

Rocky Horror Picture Show FugardRocky Horror Show at the Fugard Theatre

The timeless musical returns to Cape Town to give fans another round of racy ...

Barnyard Theatre Willowbridge Best Days of Our LivesMusic Tribute Show at the Barnyard ...

Rock the night away to five decades of top pop tunes at this Durbanville dinner ...

Battlefield Live Corporate LogoTeam Building with Battlefield Live SA

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

Design and Making: The Story of FoodDesign and Making Exhibition at the ...

Discover how the evolution of food sheds light on the history and ...

12 Rooms Exhibition with Leon at CCXIXTwelve Rooms Exhibition with Leon at ...

A dozen designers and decorators showcase their style at this furniture studio ...

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 ...

Maboneng Township Arts Langa TagThe Langa TAG Township Arts Gallery Tour

Take a gander at local creations along this Cape Town township’s first ...

Colosseum HotelSunday Lunch Buffet at CinCin ...

The proverbial day of rest becomes a day of family feasting at this Century ...

Sotano 3Sunday Happy Hour at Sotano by Caveau

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

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

Sample a sterling selection of vintages at this acclaimed Winelands destination

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

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

Hazendal-Restaurant-7Sunday lunch at Hazendal’s Hermitage ...

Unwind with affordable fare on one of Stellenbosch’s oldest wine farms

whale wine and wors wine flies logoWine Flies’ Whale, Wine and Wors Tour ...

Hop on board a fun-filled minibus and explore the hidden gems of the Western ...

whale wine and wors wine flies logoWhale, Wine and Wors Tour by Wine Flies

The off-the-beaten-track day trip that lets you explore three of South ...

Desmond Tutu bezoekt DeventerArchbishop Desmond Tutu Documentary ...

See the South African premiere of the first factual film about the life of our ...

Red Sock Tweed Fun Ride logoRed Sock Tweed Charity Fun Ride

Support a worthy local cause with this short spring bike ride through Cape Town

Park Inn by Radisson Cape Town Newlands Hotel BedroomNew Park Inn by Radisson Hotel Set to ...

Cape Town’s Southern Suburbs gear up to welcome a new high-tech, ...

Rockville 2069 Rock Musical Artscape TheatreRockville 2069 Musical at the Artscape ...

Old school meets new school to create a groundbreaking sci-fi rock ‘n’ roll ...

Aerial Walkway at KirstenboschTreetop Canopy Walkway at Kirstenbosch ...

Cape Town’s famed botanical greenway opens an aerial forest boardwalk

Steve Biko Memorial Lecture 2013Steve Biko Memorial Lecture at UCT

Judge Navanethem ‘Navi’ Pillay speaks about the global struggle for human ...

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