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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Nik Rabinowitz What the EFF at the Fugard Theatre Nik Rabinowitz’s Stand-up Comedy Show ...

Have a hearty laugh at this Capetonian comedian’s politically inspired new ...

Pinocchio at the Nassau Theatre 1Pinocchio at the Nassau Theatre

Bring out the little ones for a fun take on this beloved age-old children’s ...

Sammi Morales DJ at Shimmy Beach ClubFriday Anthems Party at Shimmy Beach ...

Cape Town’s premier oceanfront club pays homage to summer with a series of ...

Killarney Street2Strip 1 Killarney Street2Strip

See tyres screech and cars being pushed to their limit in this Killarney-based ...

Fire and Ice Pool Shot Cape TownFriday Night DJ Sessions at Protea ...

Welcome the weekend with a free and funky party at the Mother City’s ...

Dinner Club at Borage Bistro Cape TownFriday Dinner at Borage Bistro

Ease into the weekend with a superb supper and sultry live tunes at this ...

Super Cool Beer Tour Bottles at Devil's PeakFree Beer Friday Special with Super ...

Embark on a fun Friday brewery excursion and get two lagers on the house

Marc LotteringMarc Lottering Comedy Show in Cape Town

The Mother City’s (multi) comedic personality draws his latest side-splitting ...

Wine Celebration in Hermanus Wine Celebration at the Wine Village ...

This Hermanus-based premium wine boutique opens its doors for a festive bout of ...

ratanga junction bushwackerHoliday Fun at Ratanga Junction

The lowdown on everything from rides, rollercoasters and family-friendly fun to ...

Art of the Brick Lego ManThe Art of the Brick Lego Exhibition in ...

Don’t miss the world-renowned expo at the V&A Waterfront that transforms a ...

Joe Barber 6 LifeJoe Barber Comedy Show

Prepare for a laugh-a-minute show that delves into the heart and soul of Cape ...

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 ...

Kirstenbosch Summer ConcertsKirstenbosch Carols by Candlelight

Sing along to popular Christmas songs at Cape Town’s historic gardens this ...

Maboneng Township Arts Langa TagThe Langa TAG Township Arts Gallery Tour

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

War Horse at the Artscape Theatre 3War Horse at the Artscape Theatre

Don’t miss this award-winning London production featuring masterful South ...

Julep Cocktail BarHappy Hour Cocktails at Julep Bar

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

Abbott Nu Jazz Band at SotanoFriday Jazz Dinner at Sotano

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

Wembley Tap Bar Craft Beer Beer Pong at Wembley Tap Bar

Mix ping pong with artisan ale at this industrial-chic house of beer every ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wine Flies Forgotten Route TourThe Forgotten Route Train Tour to ...

Take the road less travelled on a two-day adventure to the Klein Karoo

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

Supper and Stage make for a delectable evening’s entertainment

Nude Sketches from Bright Studio Cape TownArt Sale at Bright Day Studio in ...

Score everything from original oil on canvas to exquisite photographic prints ...

Diesel women's dresses sale from Labels4Less shopDiesel Jeans & Clothing Sale

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

Marcel's Frozen Yoghurt Summer of Good Times CampaignWin With Marcel’s Frozen Yoghurt in ...

Share YOUR summer moment and score the ultimate summer of good times getaway ...

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

Vibe at the Hout Bay Harbour Market in Cape TownFriday Night at The Bay Harbour Market

Ring in the weekend with live music, craft beer, hearty fare and happy shopping ...

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

Celebrate your weekend freedom with ethically produced biltong and droëwors

Glenelly 1Meat and Cheese Platters at Glenelly ...

A Stellenbosch wine tasting with true French finesse

Bright Day Art Classes in WoodstockCreative Corporate Team Building with ...

Harness the power of creativity at an edgy customised workshop

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

Grand Parade Cape GuineasGrand Parade Cape Guineas Day

Celebrate the summer sun with a family-friendly day of horse racing fun at ...

Cape Town Summer Night Market Cape Town Summer Market

Get your retail therapy fix at this inner-city Christmas night bazaar in the ...

Nik Rabinowitz What the EFF at the Fugard Theatre Nik Rabinowitz’s Stand-up Comedy Show ...

Have a hearty laugh at this Capetonian comedian’s politically inspired new ...

Pinocchio at the Nassau Theatre 1Pinocchio at the Nassau Theatre

Bring out the little ones for a fun take on this beloved age-old children’s ...

Summer Experience Music Festival at The River ClubSummer Experience Music Festival

Jimmy Nevis, Toya Delazy and Beatenberg are billed to heat things up even more ...

Pool Party at Shimmy Beach ClubSaturday Pool Party at Shimmy Beach Club

Savour a splashing good time every summer weekend with smooth beats by star DJs ...

MCQP Cape TownMCQP in Cape Town

Skippers, seamen and LGBTQI royalty, don those crowns for the (queen) mother of ...

Galileo Open Air Cinema Cape TownThe Galileo Open Air Cinema in the Cape ...

Grab your popcorn and get ready to watch your favourite films beneath the stars ...

Marc LotteringMarc Lottering Comedy Show in Cape Town

The Mother City’s (multi) comedic personality draws his latest side-splitting ...

Wine Celebration in Hermanus Wine Celebration at the Wine Village ...

This Hermanus-based premium wine boutique opens its doors for a festive bout of ...

ratanga junction bushwackerHoliday Fun at Ratanga Junction

The lowdown on everything from rides, rollercoasters and family-friendly fun to ...

Art of the Brick Lego ManThe Art of the Brick Lego Exhibition in ...

Don’t miss the world-renowned expo at the V&A Waterfront that transforms a ...

Joe Barber 6 LifeJoe Barber Comedy Show

Prepare for a laugh-a-minute show that delves into the heart and soul of Cape ...

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 ...

Kirstenbosch Summer ConcertsKirstenbosch Carols by Candlelight

Sing along to popular Christmas songs at Cape Town’s historic gardens this ...

Maboneng Township Arts Langa TagThe Langa TAG Township Arts Gallery Tour

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

War Horse at the Artscape Theatre 3War Horse at the Artscape Theatre

Don’t miss this award-winning London production featuring masterful South ...

Wembley Tap Craft Beer Bar PatioOutdoor Weekend Braais at Wembley Tap ...

Enjoy beer and barbequed meat every Friday and Saturday afternoon at this ...

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

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

Nude Sketches from Bright Studio Cape TownArt Sale at Bright Day Studio in ...

Score everything from original oil on canvas to exquisite photographic prints ...

Cheap Superdry Jeans from Labels4Less Factory StoreSuperdry Clothing Sale: T-shirts, Jeans ...

Save an extra R50 on already discounted designer denim, tops, bags and ...

river club greensGolfer’s Breakfast Special at the ...

Make the most of the weekend with a morning of good grub and elegant swings

Marcel's Frozen Yoghurt Summer of Good Times CampaignWin With Marcel’s Frozen Yoghurt in ...

Share YOUR summer moment and score the ultimate summer of good times getaway ...

Wild Fig Outdoor Restaurant Dining The Wild Fig Restaurant’s Alfresco ...

Enjoy long, lazy weekend lunches outdoors at this historic Cape Town eatery

Spier Eight logoEight Restaurant Thrusts Its Doors Open ...

Spier Wine Farm’s farm-to-table eatery’s now serving supper three days a ...

Hazendal new 7Saturday Picnics at Hermitage Restaurant

Slow down and join the ants for a leisurely lunch on the grounds of ...

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

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

Latitude 33 Fashion Boutique Cape TownLatitude 33’s Winter Clothing Sale

Clearance! Score edgy Aussie-made clothes for men and women at up to 50% less ...

Nectar Techno & House Music Party at the Train LodgeNectar: House Music Party at The Train ...

Get down to the lighter side of house and techno at an all-new slammin’ ...

The 360 Lounge Social GamingThe 360 Lounge in Cape Town

Green Point welcomes a new social play place for avid Xbox gamers

Chilli Poppers and tapas from Orinoco Bree StreetHalf-price Tapas Tuesdays at Orinoco ...

Tuck into twice the Latin American flavour for once the price at this vibrant ...

Burritos from Orinoco Mexican RestaurantQuesadilla & Burrito Wednesday Lunch ...

Enjoy a spicy midday meal at this colourful Latin American cantina for less ...

Marcel's Frozen Yoghurt BlizzardShare a Frozen Yoghurt at Your ...

Savour a simple summer moment with a swirl of soft serve in hand

Marcel's Frozen Yogurt Tubs with ToppingsThe Story of Marcel’s Frozen Yoghurt

The scoop on the original queen of South Africa’s froyo scene

Chilli Poppers and tapas from Orinoco Bree StreetOrinoco Restaurant in Cape Town

Latin America flavours light up this colourful Bree Street cantina

Mike Rosenberg PassengerPassenger Concert in Cape Town

‘Let Her Go’ singer makes his way to Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden ...

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