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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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 ...

Darkroom Contemporary Blueprint Dance Show Cape Town City HallBlueprint Dance Show at the Cape Town ...

A thought-provoking production that explores the link between the human form ...

Beerhouse #99 Beers SignInternational Beer Day in Cape Town

Cheers to beers! Where to celebrate your love for brew in the Mother City

Days of the Dinosaur Exhibition Cape TownDays of the Dinosaur Exhibit in Cape ...

The CTICC transforms into a scene from Jurassic Park thanks to this super cool, ...

mofunk logoMoFunk Party at Jade Lounge in Cape Town

Boogie on down, Soul Train-style at this swanky Green Point bar

Baba Indaba eventSABC Education Baba Indaba

Get all the help you need with your precious bundle of joy at this one-stop ...

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 ...

HQ Friday night DJ Dance partyFriday Night DJ and Dancing at HQ ...

#AfterDark with DJ Rene: start the weekend with a steak dinner, stylish ...

Reach for your slippers reach for a dreamReach for your Slippers Campaign

Help a child fight a grave illness by simply exchanging your slops and ...

Oklahoma at the Artscape TheatreOklahoma Musical at the Artscape

This old favourite song and dance production will charm and delight Cape Town ...

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 ...

Waterford wall 1Wine and Chocolate Tasting at Waterford ...

Pair sterling vintages with sweet treats at this world-class wine farm

Amazink LiveAmaZink Live

A theatre in Kayamandi township in Stellenbosch serves up great food and ...

Dutch Haven BarAfter-work Drinks and Live Music at ...

Enjoy an authentic Holland-style borreluur every Friday evening at this ...

Abbott Nu Jazz Band at SotanoFriday Jazz Dinner at Sotano

Start the weekend in style with soulful beats and supreme fare at this Atlantic ...

Julep Cocktail BarHappy Hour Cocktails at Julep Bar

This speakeasy-type watering hole offers up a late-night drinks deal in Cape ...

Maboneng Township Arts Langa TagThe Langa TAG Township Arts Gallery Tour

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

The Springbok Experience Rugby Museum LogoThe Springbok Experience Museum’s ...

Visit this world-class Waterfront attraction and enjoy a free Castle draught at ...

Richard's Bistro supper and stage Kaapstad“Kaapse Stories” at Richard’s ...

Supper and Stage make for a delectable evening’s entertainment

Bright Day Art Classes in WoodstockThank Bright It’s Friday Team ...

Wash away the stress of the working week with playful artistic expression

Free Biltong online shopping South AfricaFree-range Fridays in Cape Town

Celebrate your weekend freedom with ethically produced biltong and droëwors

Dinner at Dish Restaurant Inn on the SquareBraai Lunch Special at Inn on the ...

Friday is braai day at this Cape Town accommodation’s laidback eatery

Magents Shoes & Apparel Labels4lessMagents Sneakers & Clothing Sale in ...

Internationally acclaimed South African brand relaunches with a R50 discount ...

Cozier Wine Shop LogoFree Wine Tasting at Cozier Wine Cellars

Sample sublime reds, whites, pinks and more for mahala right in the bosom of ...

Food and wine tasting at La MotteFood and Wine Pairing at La Motte

Discover a match made in the divine tasting room of this Franschhoek estate

SkyNetSG Masters of the CraftMasters of the Craft

Get ready to groove all night with Cape Town’s house music kingpins

seedbomb and city farm historical walking tour (food route)Seedbomb and City Farm Historical Tour

Replant and rediscover the Mother City with this unique walking tour

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 ...

Darkroom Contemporary Blueprint Dance Show Cape Town City HallBlueprint Dance Show at the Cape Town ...

A thought-provoking production that explores the link between the human form ...

Days of the Dinosaur Exhibition Cape TownDays of the Dinosaur Exhibit in Cape ...

The CTICC transforms into a scene from Jurassic Park thanks to this super cool, ...

Red Telephone The JourneyThe Red Telephone presents Journey EDM ...

Prepare for an epic ride through a spectrum of sick sounds at The Train Lodge

Grape Day Out 2 August 2014Grape Day Out Wine Festival Stellenbosch

An affordable day of wine, food, fashion and entertainment in the Boland

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

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

Baba Indaba eventSABC Education Baba Indaba

Get all the help you need with your precious bundle of joy at this one-stop ...

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 ...

Die Burger MTB ChallengeDie Burger Mountain Bike Challenge

Get ready for this scenic yet challenging MTB race through historic ...

Spier Winelands Bridal Fair 2013Spier Winelands Bridal Fair

Planning your wedding just got a whole lot easier

Oklahoma at the Artscape TheatreOklahoma Musical at the Artscape

This old favourite song and dance production will charm and delight Cape Town ...

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 ...

Cape Bike ToursChauffeured motorbike rides around Cape ...

Arrive in style and see the Mother City from the back of a Harley-Davidson ...

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 ...

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

Who said guns were only for guys?

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 ...

labyrinth 9th birthday trance party august 2014Labyrinth Celebrates Nine Years of ...

Don’t let winter put a stop to your stomping with this indoor trance party

The Vintage Saturday at Bay Harbour MarketVintage Saturday at the Bay Harbour ...

Browse fashions from a bygone era at this once-a-month bazaar in Hout Bay

Kosher Restaurants in Cape TownKosher Restaurants Cape Town

A selection of certified meat or milchik eateries in the Mother City

The Woodstock Man Cave MotorcycleThe Woodstock Man Cave Motorbike Club ...

A new social space and sanctuary for the motorcycle mad

Pony Rides at Imhoff FarmImhoff Farm in Kommetjie

This all-in-one mini-village is a family-friendly haven set in an idyllic ...

seedbomb and city farm historical walking tour (food route)Seedbomb and City Farm Historical Tour

Replant and rediscover the Mother City with this unique walking tour

World of Birds logoWorld of Birds Wildlife Sanctuary and ...

The entire family can get up close with colourful birds, mammals and reptiles ...

Clay Cafe heartsClay Café in Hout Bay

This creative coffee spot in Hout Bay gets your little one to unleash their ...

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