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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Coppelia BalletCoppelia Ballet at the Artscape Theatre

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Optical Diversion ExhibitionOptical Diversion Exhibition at ...

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

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Burn the FloorBurn the Floor Dance Show at the Baxter ...

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The Underwater ExhibitionUnderwater Cape Town Exhibition

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table mountain chocolate 3Table Mountain Chocolate Bar Special

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Coppelia BalletCoppelia Ballet at the Artscape Theatre

Enjoy the intrigue, romance and deception of this comic ballet

One&Only Guest Speaker Series Grant LotteringOne&Only Cape Town Guest Speaker Series

Be inspired by compelling stories of triumph and success from South African ...

Naked Girls Reading in Cape Town 1Naked Girls Reading in Cape Town

See how sensuality and literary works merge with this unique concept returning ...

cafe Roux SessionsCafé Roux Sessions in Noordhoek

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

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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

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

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 ...

De Hoop Nature ReserveYoga Retreat at De Hoop Nature Reserve

Unleash your downward dog in fantastical fynbos at this gorgeous reserve

african relish 4Culinary Getaway with African Relish

For the foodie traveller or those who want culinary combined with relaxation

aMadoda_Interior1.jpgThursday Beer Special at aMadoda Braai ...

Start the weekend early with three cold brews for the price of two at aMadoda- ...

Burst 1The Burst Exhibition at Gallery MOMO

Challenge the stereotypes attached to the black female form

Feast 3The Friday Night Feast at the Palms ...

Let your inner-foodie loose at this night market, situated in the historic ...

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

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

Witness an all-star cast and director bring this poignant play home

Underwater Photographer of the YearThe Underwater Photographer of the Year ...

Dive down deep into an underwater world of superlative photography

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

Lunares - 2Lunares Flamenco Showcase

Flamenco is much more than just billowy skirts and matadors

Excentric InteriorShellac Manicure-centric and ...

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

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 ...

Life-Rob Van Vuuren-3Life by Rob van Vuuren

Laugh out loud as Rob van Vuuren takes the funny back in time to the date of ...

Backtracker Cycling Back UnitCycling Events in the Western Cape

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

Burn the FloorBurn the Floor Dance Show at the Baxter ...

Sinfully sexy, this dance showcase is about to get hot!

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

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 ...

table mountain chocolate 3Table Mountain Chocolate Bar Special

Buy five of the flat-topped bars and get one FREE when you mention CapeTownMag

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