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 2014
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Barnyard Theatre (Willowbridge) Born to be wildBarnyard Theatre's Born To Be Wild ...

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Rockville 2069 Rock Musical Artscape TheatreRockville 2069 Musical at the Artscape ...

Old school meets new school to create a groundbreaking sci-fi rock ‘n’ roll ...

Funnier than them comedy show at the Fugard TheatreDeep Fried Man and Friends at Funnier ...

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GIPCA Drawing WorkshopGIPCA Live Art Festival

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Clanwilliam-FlowerShow-4Clanwilliam Wild Flower Show

Experience the joie de vivre evoked by the West Coast’s springtime flora!

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike at Theatre on the BayPieter Toerien Presents Vanya and Sonia ...

Catch this hysterical theatre production at Camps Bay's popular dinner theatre

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His and her hair removal for less at Cape Town’s first all-natural beauty ...

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Year End Party Two Oceans AquariumHost a Year End Function at the Two ...

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Design and Making: The Story of FoodDesign and Making Exhibition at the ...

Discover how the evolution of food sheds light on the history and ...

The Odyssey Live Music NightCrossroad Blues Live Music Night at The ...

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

Stardust VespasSix-for-Four Shooter Special at ...

Add some rocket fuel to this eatery’s theatrical dining experience to make ...

Cape Quarter The SquareHappy Hour at the Cape Quarter Square

Weekday evenings are all about half-price cocktails and high spirits at this ...

Fruit Salad WrapWednesday Tortilla Wrap Special at ...

Recharge and refresh with a budget- and belly-friendly brekkie and lunch deal ...

Hout Bay Dental Studio Teeth Whitening EffectsTeeth Whitening Special at Hout Bay ...

Brighten the midweek with a superb Wednesday dental deal

Linde Collection Jewellery Store ExteriorThe Linde Collection Jewellery ...

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Beerhouse beer o clock logoBeer o’ Clock at Beerhouse

Say goodbye to happy hour and hello to an around-the-clock brewhaha

Maboneng Township Arts Langa TagThe Langa TAG Township Arts Gallery Tour

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

Dornier Bodega Shellfish PlatterShellfish Special at Dornier Bodega ...

Make Wednesdays truly wonderful with a half-price shellfish deal at this ...

HintHunt Escape Game Logo 2Corporate Team Building with HintHunt

Get the staff bonding with this exhilarating group escape game

Dinner at Aubergine RestaurantLunch at Aubergine Restaurant

Daytime fine dining in the heart of Cape Town

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

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

Sotano Lamb Burger SpecialDinner Special at Sotano by Caveau

Tuck into two lamb burgers and fries for the price of one every Wednesday

Craft beer from The Taproom Salt RiverAfter-work Drinks at The Taproom

Give your nine-to-five the finger and wind down with a craft beer at this ...

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

Wednesday Dinner Special at Jackal & Hide RestaurantJackal & Hide’s Wednesday Restaurant ...

Get two mains for a mere R140 at Cape Town’s Kloof Street hotspot

NAC Helicopter Cape Town Tours & FlightsNAC’s Romantic Helicopter Flip

This Cape Town company’s flock of lovebirds offers rides to make hearts soar

Peter's House Restaurant TamboerskloofPasta Special at Peter’s House

Say no to washing up on ‘HUmP Day’ and head to Cape Town’s cutest eatery ...

Cobble & Stone Pub at Inn on the SquareYe Olde Lunch at the Cobble & Stone Pub

Fancy a pint? This Greenmarket Square tavern serves up good English pub grub ...

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

Grab two mouth-watering burgers for less than R60 every Wednesday at Long ...

Thomas Mason suit jacket liningsMORE’s Handmade Shirt Special

Get a free customised shirt when purchasing a made-to-measure suit

Hooters Chicken WingsWednesday Wings Special at Hooters ...

It’s all you can eat for just R99!

Jabula Hair Cape TownJabula Hair Weave & Extension Special

Buy hair extensions a weave or a wig and get your do done for free

Barnyard Theatre (Willowbridge) Born to be wildBarnyard Theatre's Born To Be Wild ...

Rock the night away to six decades of anthems at this Durbanville dinner ...

Rockville 2069 Rock Musical Artscape TheatreRockville 2069 Musical at the Artscape ...

Old school meets new school to create a groundbreaking sci-fi rock ‘n’ roll ...

Funnier than them comedy show at the Fugard TheatreDeep Fried Man and Friends at Funnier ...

Catch three of Mzansi’s funniest comedians at Cape Town’s intimate Fugard ...

GIPCA Drawing WorkshopGIPCA Live Art Festival

Catch 11 days of music, dance, theatre and more with this citywide festival

Cape Homemakers Expo logoCape Homemakers Expo

Find DIY, décor and home renovation inspiration at this year’s ‘Bold, ...

Clanwilliam-FlowerShow-4Clanwilliam Wild Flower Show

Experience the joie de vivre evoked by the West Coast’s springtime flora!

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike at Theatre on the BayPieter Toerien Presents Vanya and Sonia ...

Catch this hysterical theatre production at Camps Bay's popular dinner theatre

Segway Tours at Spier Wine FarmSegway Tours at Spier Wine Farm

Take a two-wheeled tour of one of South Africa’s most innovative farms

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 ...

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 ...

Welcome to City Bowl MarketCity Bowl Thursday Night Market in Hope ...

Pop in to this quaint community market for a post-work meet and eat

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 ...

Forex The Foreign Exchange Cape Town ObservatoryBeer Pong Night at The Foreign Exchange ...

Give this fun-filled drinking game a go every Thursday night in Observatory

Andiamo Restaurant in the Cape Quarter Cape TownLive Music Thursdays at Andiamo

Kiss the workday blues goodbye with good food and great tunes at the magical ...

Bar snacks at HQHalf Price Tapas at HQ Restaurant

The legendary meaty eatery broadens its offerings with discounted delights ...

Swimming with Great White SharksWhite Shark Diving Company’s Killer ...

Come face-to-face with the ocean’s most fearsome fish with a great white ...

Stardust new venueDinner Theatre at Stardust Restaurant

The pre-Friday theatrical dining experience that will make you feel like your ...

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

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

Maboneng Township Arts Langa TagThe Langa TAG Township Arts Gallery Tour

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

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 ...

Richard's Bistro supper and stage KaapstadRichard’s Supper Stage “Kaapse ...

Supper and Stage make for a delectable evening’s entertainment

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

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

Oriscolls City Centre pub Cape TownAll-week, Double-whammy Happy Hour at ...

Drop kick the stress of the workweek with not one but two hours of discounted ...

De Grendel Restaurant Food#ThrowbackThursday Restaurant Special ...

Tuck into old-school classics with a new-school twist at this Durbanville wine ...

Pool deck at the African Pride Crystal Towers Hotel & SpaHalf-price Sushi Special at African ...

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

Langaro Spa staircaseMaternity Pamper Package Special at ...

The wellness and beauty hub is offering moms-to-be a specialised pregnancy ...

Thursday Night Live Music at Jackal & Hide BarThursday Night Live Music Sessions at ...

It’s all about good grub and great tunes at this Cape Town hotspot’s FREE ...

Wine and cheese platter from Peter FalkeSundowners at Peter Falke Wine Farm in ...

Toast dusk with fine wine and gorgeous cheese platters

Romantic Date Night & Movie at Twelve Apostles HotelDinner and a Movie Experience at The ...

Lights, camera and a three-course meal at one of Cape Town’s favourite fine ...

James Bond Gun Fun After Hours Package007 Thursdays at Gun Fun

Get your kicks shooting the same guns as James Bond. For real.

Winelands Tea at La MotteWinelands Tea at Pierneef à La Motte

Enjoy an old-Cape high tea at La Motte wine estate

Vegetarian pizza from Festa WellingtonPizza Special at Festa Restaurant

Take a bite out of this delicious deal in Wellington every Thursday night

artscape photo outside lightsArtscape Heritage Festival

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Jeremy Olivier Simon's Town Music FestivalSimon’s Town Music Festival

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Urban Farming WorkshopUrban Farming Beginner’s Workshop

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whale wine and wors wine flies logoWhale, Wine and Wors Tour by Wine Flies

The off-the-beaten-track day trip that lets you explore three of South ...

ERA Nightclub in Cape TownERA Nightclub and Café in Cape Town

The new forward-thinking CBD-based club and lounge for electro-loving ...

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TulbaghTulbagh Spring Arts Festival

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