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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Rocking Hollywood 5Barnyard Theatre’s Rocking Hollywood ...

Have a musical trip down memory lane with the brilliant cast of Rocking in ...

Battlefield Live Corporate LogoTeam Building with Battlefield Live SA

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

Lions VS Cobras T20 Match Cape TownThe Cape Cobras VS The Highveld Lions ...

The cricketing rivalry continues between our coastal kings and the Vaalies

Kirstenbosch Summer Sunset ConcertsKirstenbosch Summer Sunset Concerts

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

Postcard From Morocco at Artscape 1Postcard From Morocco at the Artscape ...

Argento’s small opera with a big heart makes its debut on the Mother City’s ...

Alchemy Dance Academy Mzansi Cape Town Salsa FestThe Mzansi Cape Town Salsa Festival

Dance your way through parties, workshops and performances at this red hot ...

Marc LotteringMarc Lottering Comedy Show in Cape Town

The Mother City’s (multi) comedic personality is back on stage with another ...

Maboneng Township Arts Langa TagThe Langa TAG Township Arts Gallery Tour

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

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 ...

sotano2Sunday Happy Hour and Live Music at ...

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

30 Seconds to Mars Concert in Cape Town 130 Seconds to Mars Concert in Cape Town

American rockers return to the Mother City to bring audiences another ...

Tidy and Co 15 Christmas Present Ideas15 Christmas Present Ideas for 15 ...

A pick of 15 fabulous gifts for everyone from outdoor enthusiasts and girly ...

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

Sample a sterling selection of vintages at this acclaimed Winelands destination

Sunset from Blues Restaurant DeckBlues Restaurant’s Seaside Sunday ...

See out the weekend with a relaxed seafood meal at the Camps Bay eatery ...

ACC City Desired Exhibition at City Hall Cape TownCity Desired Exhibition at City Hall

Contemporary Cape Town exposed: encounter the Mother City in a whole new light ...

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 ...

sea kayaking 12 apostlesSea Kayaking Sunday Family Special

Learn to paddle, enjoy the views and see amazing marine life at a special ...

Hazendal Wine Farm Cape WinelandsSunday lunch at Hazendal’s Hermitage ...

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

BarleycornBarleycorn Music Club

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

Rocking Hollywood 5Barnyard Theatre’s Rocking Hollywood ...

Have a musical trip down memory lane with the brilliant cast of Rocking in ...

Battlefield Live Corporate LogoTeam Building with Battlefield Live SA

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

Marc LotteringMarc Lottering Comedy Show in Cape Town

The Mother City’s (multi) comedic personality is back on stage with another ...

Maboneng Township Arts Langa TagThe Langa TAG Township Arts Gallery Tour

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

Dinner Club at Borage Bistro Cape TownThursday Supper Club at Borage Bistro

Book your seat at this CBD gem’s uber-affordable biweekly pop-up dinner

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

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

Sundowners at Castella AmareDouble Happy Hour Special at Castella ...

Treat yourself to half-price tapas and heartily discounted wine every Monday to ...

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

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

Tidy and Co 15 Christmas Present Ideas15 Christmas Present Ideas for 15 ...

A pick of 15 fabulous gifts for everyone from outdoor enthusiasts and girly ...

HQ 2-for-1 Steak Restaurant Special MondaysSteak Dinner Special at HQ Restaurant

#2For1Unplugged Mondays: get twice the sirloin, salad and chips at Headquarters ...

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 ...

ACC City Desired Exhibition at City Hall Cape TownCity Desired Exhibition at City Hall

Contemporary Cape Town exposed: encounter the Mother City in a whole new light ...

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 ...

hudsons burger joint cocktails2-for-1 Happy Hour Food & Drinks ...

Wind down from a hard day’s work with buy-one-get-one-free appetisers, beers ...

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 ...

Yemaya spa and hair and nails logoYemaya Spa’s Spray Tan Special

Go golden for less thanks to this exclusive CapeTownMagazine.com deal

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

Outside of Peter's House on Kloof NekOpen Mic Night At Peter’s House

This cosy Tamboerskloof restaurant hosts a free intimate live performance ...

Djembe Drumming in Cape TownThe African Djembe Drum & Drumming ...

The story behind one of Africa’s oldest instruments, and how to get your ...

Mike Rosenberg PassengerPassenger Concerts South Africa

‘Let Her Go’ singer is headed to Mzansi for a three-date concert ...

The Vintage Expo Cape TownThe Vintage Fashion Expo in Cape Town

Browse retro clothing and accessories from a bygone era at a stunning art deco ...

Gardens of Grande Roche Hotel WinelandsChristmas Day Lunch Buffet at the ...

Whisk your family and friends away to the Cape Winelands for fine dining this ...

Richard's Bistro supper and stage KaapstadNew Year’s Eve Dinner & Dance at ...

Say hello to 2015 with a truly Capetonian celebration at this Sea Point musical ...

Wavescape Fish FryWavescape Fish Fry with Ultimate Braai ...

Score a sweet surfboard and watch celebrity braai masters go head-to-head at ...

Spring rolls at Savour RestaurantSavour Restaurant at African Pride 15 ...

Discover the unexpected in the heart of Cape Town’s city centre 

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