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
September 2016
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South Africa National Gallery KapstadtFree Entrance to Iziko Museums During ...

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

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

Groote Post Country MarketGroote Post Country Market

A darling market with plenty of heart and country fare suitable for the whole ...

South Africa National Gallery KapstadtFree Entrance to Iziko Museums During ...

Entrance to all Iziko Museums in Cape Town will be free on Heritage Day and the ...

pop up cinema 4Pop-Up Drive-In Cinema

This blast from the past cinema experience gives you the feel of a 50’s ...

Earthdance-Cape-Town-4Earthdance Cape Town

This epic global get-down kick-starts the Mother City’s outdoor party season ...

le brunch sa aisha and siviweLe Brunch SA Ladies Luncheon

Meet inspirational women and tuck in to a delightful meal at this lavish ...

1693 Pop Up Lunches with Guy Clark 5Pop Up Lunch at 1693

Enjoy a sensory dining experience at this intimate location in the Winelands

Coffee and Chocolate FestivalCoffee and Chocolate Festival

Tantalise your taste buds with some decadent and delectable delights at this ...

Movies at Spier - 1Outdoor Picnic and Movie Nights at ...

Watch cinematic greats while you sit under the stars, wine glass in hand

Franschhoek-Uncorked-2012-1Franschhoek Uncorked

Say hello to spring at this family-friendly sip-and-swirl fiesta in the ...

Cape Town Fringe FestivalCape Town Fringe Festival

Find out why Cape Town is SA’s capital of creativity at this popular arts ...

Hermanus Wildflower Show 2013Hermanus Botanical Society’s Flower ...

Enjoy the fresh blooms and floral delights of the Overberg at this ...

Wednesday Warm-Up RunsWednesday Warm-Up Runs

Start your training for this year’s Gun Run with these weekly running ...

Clybourne Park at The Fugard TheatreUpcoming Plays that You Don’t Want to ...

Cape Town has a sensational theatre culture and we invite you to sample the ...

Spring to Summer 3West Coast Craft Market Presents Spring ...

Embrace the change of the season with a little craftiness…

Green Forest Trail Run SeriesGreen Forest Train Run Series in the ...

Lace up and traverse the lush Cape landscape as spring sets in

Benguela Cove Tasting RoomLove Wine Sundays at Benguela Cove ...

Enjoy exclusive award‐winning wines and sweet tunes at this exquisite Sunday ...

Groot Constantia Trail SeriesGroot Constantia Trail Series in Cape ...

Traverse the beautiful trails in Cape Town’s Southern Suburbs at one of these ...

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 ...

Clybourne Park at The FugardClybourne Park at The Fugard Theatre

Clybourne Park stands for a whole lot more than a property in this racy satire

flora old and new irma stern  3Flora Old and New Exhibition

Gorgeous paintings of flora await you at this exhibition dedicated to Irma Stern

lucinda mudge 3Lucinda Mudge Ceramic Art Exhibition at ...

See the edgy vases by ceramic artist Lucinda Mudge that has art collectors ...

Deborah Poynton Picnic ExhibitionPicnic Solo Exhibition by Deborah ...

The pleasure of a picnic is artfully explored

SANParks Tankwa NP FlowersYour Guide to Viewing the Spring ...

Don’t miss the chance to get up close and personal with South Africa’s ...

Artisan Cheese FairSay Cheese Artisanal Fair

Don’t forfeta you’re chance to brie happy with cheese, cheese and more ...

Nederburg 1Nederburg Concert Series

Everyone needs the sound of classical music and the lovely taste of Nederburg ...

Winter World Class Burger Pairing at Café CapriceWinter World Class Burger Pairing at ...

Four bartenders battle it out for World Class domination with their brilliant ...

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

Backtracker Cycling Back UnitCycling Events in the Western Cape

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

JosephCOAT4Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor ...

Joseph is coming back to Cape Town to warm our hearts with his wonderful story ...

Hazendal Wine Farm Cape WinelandsSunday Lunch and Picnics at Hazendal ...

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

Groote Post Country MarketGroote Post Country Market

A darling market with plenty of heart and country fare suitable for the whole ...

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