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
July 2015
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Collect-a-Can Book Drive 2Collect-a-Can National Book Drive for ...

Celebrate Mandela Month by helping our little learners to improve their reading ...

Cape Town Museum of Childhood Museum of Childhood Pop-Up Toy ...

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Year End Office Dinner Two Oceans AquariumHost a Year End Function at the Two ...

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The Backyard Grill Lounge RibsBBQ Ribs Special at The Backyard Grill ...

Savour succulent, sticky ribs for just R99 per kilogram on Wednesdays

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Brighten the midweek with a superb Wednesday dental deal

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Dine and drink while taking in top tunes at this trendy bar every Wednesday

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Host memorable, meaningful functions at this warm CBD bistro

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Get the staff bonding with this exhilarating group escape game

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Spartacus of Africa 5A Spartacus of Africa Ballet at ...

The Roman tale of a slave gladiator takes on an African twist in this ballet

HipHopFest 4Cape Town Hip-Hop Festival Auditions

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Let your little one learn to jingle and jive while hanging out with other mini ...

Nature's Best Photography Africa ExhibitionNature’s Best Photography Africa ...

Witness the evocative beauty of the African wilderness exquisitely photographed ...

Tidy & Co. Pop-Up Shop Long StreetTidy & Co. Pop-Up Gift Shop in Long ...

Buy the perfect present to suit your loved one’s personality and tuck into ...

Artscape6Children’s Mini Drama Festival at the ...

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Unleash your little one’s inner Picasso with this series of fun, educational ...

Fairview Goatshed Food and Wine Themed EveningsFairview’s Goatshed Restaurant’s ...

Get your hands dirty and make your own pizza, or taste something new at these ...

Swordfern Hair and Beauty Salon 3FREE Haircut and Blow-Dry Special at ...

Book a full head of highlights for any Wednesday at this stylish spa and get a ...

ByeCycle Electric Bicycle Luxury Tours Cape TownSunday Morning Electric Bike Tour ...

Enjoy a leisurely weekend breakfast ride around Cape Town for less thanks to ...

Happy Hour at Mojitos2-for-1 Burger Special at Cafe Mojito

Grab two mouth-watering burgers for R69 every Wednesday at Long Street’s ...

Paragliding Cape TownCape Town Paragliding Special with Para ...

Take to the skies on any Wednesday with this reputable company and receive R100 ...

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

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

Cobble & Stone Pub at Inn on the SquareTake a Load Off at the Cobble & Stone ...

Fancy a pint or a bite? Stop over at this Greenmarket Square tavern for great ...

Odriscolls Irish Pub's Burger SpecialO’Driscoll’s 2-for-1 Burger Special

Beef up your Wednesday with double the bun-and-patty action for just R68

Cape Jazz at the Crypt VenueWine Wednesdays at The Crypt Jazz ...

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Celebrate Mandela Month by helping our little learners to improve their reading ...

Cape Town Museum of Childhood Museum of Childhood Pop-Up Toy ...

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Year End Office Dinner Two Oceans AquariumHost a Year End Function at the Two ...

Throw a party unlike any other at the Mother City’s underwater wonderland

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See proudly South African performances with this upbeat show that celebrates ...

Auditorium orchestra chamber music festivalChamber Music Festival in Stellenbosch

Feast on classical sounds performed by local and international pros and ...

AWOL City Centre Cycle TourCape Town City Cycle Tour with AWOL ...

Discover the rich history of Cape Town’s CBD in an active, engaging way with ...

madiba-knysna-headsThe Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival

Get ready for another instalment of the mother shucker of Western Cape food and ...

King Tut in GrandWest Casino King Tutankhamun Exhibition in Cape Town

Explore the golden treasures of ancient Egypt’s famed pharaoh when this expo ...

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

Gordon's bay milkwood trail harbourGordons Bay Winter Wonderland Festival

Head to this not-so-sleepy town for warming food, wine and family friendly ...

Kids Bday Party at Two Oceans AquariumKids Parties at the Two Oceans Aquarium

Birthdays are better down where it’s wetter, take it from us!

Picture of Great White SharkGreat White Shark Diving and Breaching ...

Take a once-in-a-lifetime plunge and swim with the masters of the sea

Disney on Ice 100 Years of MagicDisney On Ice South Africa

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Facial at Ways of Wellness Spa in Cape TownFacial Special at Ways of Wellness Spa ...

Save 15% on various skin treatments every Thursday at this all-natural house of ...

Linde Collection Diamond Lily Flower RingsDiamond Lily Rings at Linde Collection

An exquisite nature-inspired jewellery range for women with an edge

De Grendel Wine Farm WineWine Tasting at De Grendel in ...

Enjoy a serene sampling experience in Cape Town’s Northern Suburbs

WorldArt Gallery Street Level Exhibition Worldart Gallery: Lady Skollie ...

Ask for What You Want is a complex exploration of the nature of human sexual ...

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Apparently turning out the lights is not always a bad thing as this expressive ...

Spartacus of Africa 5A Spartacus of Africa Ballet at ...

The Roman tale of a slave gladiator takes on an African twist in this ballet

HipHopFest 4Cape Town Hip-Hop Festival Auditions

Calling all hip-hop acts in the Mother City, this is your time to show off your ...

School of Rock CampSchool of Rock Winter Camp

Let your little one learn to jingle and jive while hanging out with other mini ...

Nature's Best Photography Africa ExhibitionNature’s Best Photography Africa ...

Witness the evocative beauty of the African wilderness exquisitely photographed ...

Tidy & Co. Pop-Up Shop Long StreetTidy & Co. Pop-Up Gift Shop in Long ...

Buy the perfect present to suit your loved one’s personality and tuck into ...

Artscape6Children’s Mini Drama Festival at the ...

Keep your kids entertained these holidays as two new children’s theatre shows ...

Art Jamming Holiday WorkshopsArtjamming Winter Holiday Programme at ...

Unleash your little one’s inner Picasso with this series of fun, educational ...

Shimmy winter menu 7New Winter Menu at Shimmy Beach Club in ...

Relish in a delicious variety of gourmet foods from one of Cape Town’s ...

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Get 50% off this Century City restaurant’s sashimi, salmon roses and more ...

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