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
August 2016
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Sunflower 4Sunflower Outdoor Music Festival

This festival marks the start of the new trance season…

Merry Widows Country InnHopefield Wild Flower Show

Soak up the beauty of the West Coast and its floral splendours at this annual ...

ETM 2ETM Presents Embrace the Moment

Embrace the Moment with a little trance music

Kids Market 1Baby & Kids Goods Market

Even the little ones want a piece of the market fun!

Wednesday Warm-Up RunsWednesday Warm-Up Runs

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

Mini Maker FaireCape Town Mini Maker Faire

See magnificent inventions at this Maker Movement market

tiletoria elgin valley mtb 42016 Tiletoria Elgin Valley MTB Race

Pedal through one of the Cape’s stunning wine estates

Body Worlds Vital ExhibitionBody Worlds Vital Exhibition

This internationally renowned, ground-breaking exhibition featuring human ...

Winter Warmer Family FestivalWinter Warmer Family Festival

Warm up your winter with a little family love at this weekend market

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 ...

A New Wave 2A New Wave Exhibition

A constellation of South Africa’s best young designers have come together to ...

Taxi Hand Signs Susan Woolf ExhibitionTaxi Hand Signs by Susan Woolf

Gaze upon incredible artworks that are accessible to the blind

Blisters for Bread PSFABlisters for Bread Fun Walk

Don your walking shoes for a good cause and help feed a hungry child

Asics Dirty Double Cycling and MTB Event in WellingtonOlympic Dirty Double Trail Run & MTB ...

Traverse the scenic Wellington Winelands area with this trail run and cycling ...

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 ...

Greyton Creative Arts Festival 1Greyton Creative Arts Festival

Buy artworks from well-known local artists at this historical town's popular ...

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

Taste exquisite dishes from specially-crafted menus at one of these warm winter ...

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 ...

Clanwilliam-FlowerShow-4Clanwilliam Wild Flower Show

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

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

The Painted Rocks at The FugardAthol Fugard’s The Painted Rocks at ...

Historical paintings take on a controversial legacy in this play set in a ...

27 Aug ephemeral pleasures 1Ephemeral Pleasures Exhibition at Moór ...

Discover the simple things that make people happy at this gorgeous exhibition

SA Print Gallery ExhibitionsThe South African Print Gallery ...

Flighty boats, terrifying terriers and scenes from the Overberg take centre ...

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

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

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 comedy club logoHalf-Price Sundays at Cape Town Comedy ...

Laugh 50% off top-notch entertainment every last day of the week at this ...

Slava's Snowshow - 2Slava’s Snowshow

Clowns in a snow storm, what’s not to love?

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

The Village Idiot Restaurant & Bar in Cape TownSunday Winter Craftsmen Braai at The ...

Celebrate the last day of the week with blazing fires and epic food experiences ...

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 ...

Sunflower 4Sunflower Outdoor Music Festival

This festival marks the start of the new trance season…

Merry Widows Country InnHopefield Wild Flower Show

Soak up the beauty of the West Coast and its floral splendours at this annual ...

ETM 2ETM Presents Embrace the Moment

Embrace the Moment with a little trance music

Kids Market 1Baby & Kids Goods Market

Even the little ones want a piece of the market fun!

Wednesday Warm-Up RunsWednesday Warm-Up Runs

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

Mini Maker FaireCape Town Mini Maker Faire

See magnificent inventions at this Maker Movement market

tiletoria elgin valley mtb 42016 Tiletoria Elgin Valley MTB Race

Pedal through one of the Cape’s stunning wine estates

Body Worlds Vital ExhibitionBody Worlds Vital Exhibition

This internationally renowned, ground-breaking exhibition featuring human ...

Winter Warmer Family FestivalWinter Warmer Family Festival

Warm up your winter with a little family love at this weekend market

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 ...

A New Wave 2A New Wave Exhibition

A constellation of South Africa’s best young designers have come together to ...

Taxi Hand Signs Susan Woolf ExhibitionTaxi Hand Signs by Susan Woolf

Gaze upon incredible artworks that are accessible to the blind

Blisters for Bread PSFABlisters for Bread Fun Walk

Don your walking shoes for a good cause and help feed a hungry child

Asics Dirty Double Cycling and MTB Event in WellingtonOlympic Dirty Double Trail Run & MTB ...

Traverse the scenic Wellington Winelands area with this trail run and cycling ...

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 ...

Greyton Creative Arts Festival 1Greyton Creative Arts Festival

Buy artworks from well-known local artists at this historical town's popular ...

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

Taste exquisite dishes from specially-crafted menus at one of these warm winter ...

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 ...

Clanwilliam-FlowerShow-4Clanwilliam Wild Flower Show

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

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

The Painted Rocks at The FugardAthol Fugard’s The Painted Rocks at ...

Historical paintings take on a controversial legacy in this play set in a ...

27 Aug ephemeral pleasures 1Ephemeral Pleasures Exhibition at Moór ...

Discover the simple things that make people happy at this gorgeous exhibition

SA Print Gallery ExhibitionsThe South African Print Gallery ...

Flighty boats, terrifying terriers and scenes from the Overberg take centre ...

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

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

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 comedy club logoHalf-Price Sundays at Cape Town Comedy ...

Laugh 50% off top-notch entertainment every last day of the week at this ...

Slava's Snowshow - 2Slava’s Snowshow

Clowns in a snow storm, what’s not to love?

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

The Village Idiot Restaurant & Bar in Cape TownSunday Winter Craftsmen Braai at The ...

Celebrate the last day of the week with blazing fires and epic food experiences ...

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 ...

Blind-Friendly Outdoor Park Monkey Bar and ChildrenCape Town’s First Outdoor ...

A new Northern Suburbs alfresco playground specifically designed for children ...

InZync Poetry SessionsInZync Poetry Session at the Open Book ...

Listen to lyrical whizzes weave the English language into captivating and ...

mishka patel 510 Questions For: Mishka Patel

Ambitious Cape Town-based TV presenter, model and business maven Mishka Patel ...

alfred thorpe 4 10 Questions For: Alfred Thorpe

This talented Cape Town-based photographer, otherwise known as Vuurtoring ...

saflag1Welcome Home Our Olympic Heroes and ...

The City of Cape Town will host a “celebration to remember” for our ...

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Meet on-air personality Tamsyn Brown - better known as Tammy B Awesome. This ...

Cape Town Club Basement Bar 3After-Work Drinks at the Cape Town Club

End your week in style at the Mother City’s most prestigious clubhouse and bar

Get Outside Urban Trail RunningGet Outside Sunday Urban Trail Run in ...

Get fit and grab a cuppa during this staple fun run through the heart of the ...

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