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
March 2017
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Workshop - 5Workshops at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival

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Corporates become commandos in this adrenaline-inducing, morale-boosting laser ...

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Get a 20% discount on your next Kiff Kombi Tour when booking for 5 people or ...

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Supper and Stage make for a delectable evening’s entertainment

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There is hope for Mother Nature, we just need to open our eyes and see it

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View a historically significant calendar and listen to audiobooks in ...

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Rock on dude!

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

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Grab your popcorn and settle down at this unique Durbanville location for the ...

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Come face-to-face with the ocean’s most fearsome fish for a truly ...

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Enjoy a specially curated Pinot Noir-inspired pairing of exquisite vino and ...

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Turn your Tuesday up a notch with this trendy hotspot’s vibey dinner and ...

Rick's Cafe Table PeopleRick’s Café Americain’s Weekly Lunch Specials

Pop over to the charming Casablanca-themed restaurant for a hearty meal that ...

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Kick off your week with a night of local jamming at Long Street’s beloved ...

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Marry a tip-top cut with any of this edgy salon’s other services and save

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Enrich your physical, mental and spiritual state every Tuesday evening at this ...

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Save on sashimi, salmon roses and more every Tuesday at this contemporary Asian ...

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Buy five of the flat-topped bars and pay for four when you mention CapeTownMag

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Test your general knowledge at this Long Street-based haunt’s Tuesday pub quiz

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