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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Cultural Day ToursOpening of Parliament Road Closures

Your guide to road closures and parking to avoid the political hubbub

Robertson Hands-on Harvest Wine FestivalRobertson Hands-on Harvest Festival

Route 62’s popular food and wine affair returns in 2016 for two whole months ...

Design Indaba Cape TownDesign Indaba Conference & Festival

Browse through cutting-edge examples of design at Mzansi’s foremost creative ...

Tuning the Vine 2016Tuning the Vine Festival in Cape Town

Tune into this hip and happening wine tasting extravaganza in the City Centre

Worldart Gallery Zolile PhetshaneWorldart Gallery: Zolile Phetshane ...

Explore the life of this artist through his striking works that document his ...

orchestra1Cape Town International Summer Music ...

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

Fab Ceri Dupree in Cape TownThe Fabulous Ceri Dupree Show

Witness the amazing antics of this international impersonator when he comes to ...

High Five Kite Surfer in Cape TownKitesurfing Lessons Special

Learn to kitesurf but leave the soaring costs behind

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

David Kramer brings another lekker local production to the Mother City

The Darling Music Experience 1Darling Music Experience

This scenic West Coast dorpie celebrates classical and contemporary melodies ...

Oude Libertas Summer Music FestivalOude Libertas Summer Season Festival

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

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 ...

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

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

TitanicTitanic: The Artifact Exhibition at the ...

Re-live the excitement, terror and tragedy of the Titanic at this exhibition of ...

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

Blacksmith Helderberg Sunset ConcertsHelderberg Sunset Concert Series

Take advantage of the warm summer evenings with this series of outdoor concerts

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

12 Apostles Valentine's Day Lunch BuffetCelebrate The Month Of Love At The ...

Every day is Valentine’s Day at the Azure Restaurant during the month of ...

Backtracker Cycling Back UnitCycling Events in the Western Cape

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

Sarah Pratt Exhibition Salon91The Fox, the Owl & the Robber ...

Step into an imaginative world of dogs, fox puppets, puffins and other creative ...

Scootours FamilyJunior Passengers Ride FREE Every ...

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

Kate Davies 365 Exhibition365 Days of Infrared Photography ...

Ethereal and elegant, explore Kate Davies’ infrared world

Meleko Mokgosi ExhibitionComrades Solo Exhibition at the ...

Delve into the meaning of democracy with this series of thought-inspiring ...

Taalmonument Picnic SeriesThe Taalmonument Picnic Series in Paarl

Enjoy good food, good entertainment and good company beneath the stars at the ...

Wildlife Photographer of the YearWildlife Photographer of the Year ...

Gaze in awe at incredible wildlife pictures taken by the globe’s top ...

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

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

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 ...

Cultural Day ToursOpening of Parliament Road Closures

Your guide to road closures and parking to avoid the political hubbub

Robertson Hands-on Harvest Wine FestivalRobertson Hands-on Harvest Festival

Route 62’s popular food and wine affair returns in 2016 for two whole months ...

Design Indaba Cape TownDesign Indaba Conference & Festival

Browse through cutting-edge examples of design at Mzansi’s foremost creative ...

Tuning the Vine 2016Tuning the Vine Festival in Cape Town

Tune into this hip and happening wine tasting extravaganza in the City Centre

Worldart Gallery Zolile PhetshaneWorldart Gallery: Zolile Phetshane ...

Explore the life of this artist through his striking works that document his ...

orchestra1Cape Town International Summer Music ...

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

Fab Ceri Dupree in Cape TownThe Fabulous Ceri Dupree Show

Witness the amazing antics of this international impersonator when he comes to ...

High Five Kite Surfer in Cape TownKitesurfing Lessons Special

Learn to kitesurf but leave the soaring costs behind

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

David Kramer brings another lekker local production to the Mother City

The Darling Music Experience 1Darling Music Experience

This scenic West Coast dorpie celebrates classical and contemporary melodies ...

Oude Libertas Summer Music FestivalOude Libertas Summer Season Festival

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

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 ...

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

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

TitanicTitanic: The Artifact Exhibition at the ...

Re-live the excitement, terror and tragedy of the Titanic at this exhibition of ...

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

Blacksmith Helderberg Sunset ConcertsHelderberg Sunset Concert Series

Take advantage of the warm summer evenings with this series of outdoor concerts

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

12 Apostles Valentine's Day Lunch BuffetCelebrate The Month Of Love At The ...

Every day is Valentine’s Day at the Azure Restaurant during the month of ...

Backtracker Cycling Back UnitCycling Events in the Western Cape

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

Sarah Pratt Exhibition Salon91The Fox, the Owl & the Robber ...

Step into an imaginative world of dogs, fox puppets, puffins and other creative ...

Scootours FamilyJunior Passengers Ride FREE Every ...

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

Kate Davies 365 Exhibition365 Days of Infrared Photography ...

Ethereal and elegant, explore Kate Davies’ infrared world

Meleko Mokgosi ExhibitionComrades Solo Exhibition at the ...

Delve into the meaning of democracy with this series of thought-inspiring ...

Taalmonument Picnic SeriesThe Taalmonument Picnic Series in Paarl

Enjoy good food, good entertainment and good company beneath the stars at the ...

Wildlife Photographer of the YearWildlife Photographer of the Year ...

Gaze in awe at incredible wildlife pictures taken by the globe’s top ...

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

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

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 ...

Azure Food Pairing 12 ApostlesFood and Wine Pairing at Azure ...

Indulge your senses at a food and wine pairing experience that is sure to be ...

High Tea Festival Tea PrincessThe High Tea Festival Cape Town

Tea, treats and lots of eats at this inaugural festival celebrating tea time!

TygerRun Running The Tyger Run/Walk at Tyger Valley ...

Start your weekend right with a fun-filled charity run out in the sunshine in ...

Silvermine5 Cape Town Questions for Our Team

As CT insiders, we decided to share our favourite summer activities, plans and ...

Flagship Brew Brewery in Riebeek Kasteel Cape TownFlagship Brew Taproom and Brewery in ...

Embark on a journey to taste, explore and discover flavourful craft beers at ...

marianne wine estate 6Viva la Difference at Marianne Wine ...

A boutique winery and restaurant near Stellenbosch distinguish themselves by ...

rAge Expo Cape Town 62016 rAge Expo at the GrandWest Casino

The utopia for gamers and technology enthusiasts is coming to the Mother City ...

Engruna Eatery BurgerBest Burger Spots in and around Cape ...

Where to find the best buns (minds out of the gutter!) and patties in the ...

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