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 2016
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Cape Town has a sensational theatre culture and we invite you to sample the ...

Taxi Hand Signs Susan Woolf ExhibitionTaxi Hand Signs by Susan Woolf

Gaze upon incredible artworks that are accessible to the blind

21 July Quiet Violence of Dreams Exhibition 3The Quiet Violence of Dreams Exhibition ...

Artists from across the globe use their craft to pay tribute to this novelist ...

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

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

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 ...

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The comedy festival that has Capetonians keeled over, for four weeks, returns

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Intrigue, secrecy and cold-blooded killings are the order of the day at these ...

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

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Ditch the regular, old game drive and saddle up for an up-close experience with ...

Swordfern Hair and Beauty Salon 5Half-Price Men’s Haircut at Swordfern ...

Every Tuesday this trendy wellness studio trims 50% off its ‘Be a ...

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Pop in to this slick hotel for buy-one-get-one-free drinks any day of the week ...

Haute Cabriere Lamb DishTrue Marriage of Food and Wine at Haute ...

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

Bob Marley cover bandLive Music Tuesday at Cafe Mojito

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

Plant Tempting Tuesday 2Tempting Tuesday at Plant Restaurant

A deliciously healthy deal making ethical eating both easy and affordable in ...

ocean star 6Ocean Star Sailing Academy's Fishing ...

Every Tuesday, CapeTownMagazine.com readers can enjoy a four-hour fishing ...

Sewing Through Sisterhood - Suzani ExhibitionSewing Paradise: A Sisterhood Through ...

Glimpse paradise through these special styles of textiles

DARG Mandela DayMandela Month at DARG

Lend a paw this Mandela Day and show a furry friend some love

Bowhaus WashHausBowhaus Bath Brush and Doggy Daycare ...

This Mother City pet-sitting paradise brings you the alternative to leaving ...

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 Quarter ExteriorFREE Weekly Yoga Class at Cape Quarter

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

Benguela Exterior NighttimeFine Dining at Benguela on Main in ...

Sample world-class wines and daringly deconstructed French classics in this ...

Signal Hill Terrace and Lounge InteriorTapas and Wine Special at Signal Hill ...

Wine, dine and relax every Tuesday at this stylish CBD haunt

Spur Winter Trail Run SeriesThe 2016 Spur Winter Trail Series®

Run wild and free this winter with this top-notch trail series

Snow World 5Snow World Snow Park at GrandWest

It’s finally going to snow in Cape Town!

Optical Diversion ExhibitionOptical Diversion Exhibition at ...

Venture into a world of abstraction with this eye-catching show

Beerhouse Restaurant and Bar in Cape TownPub Quiz Night at Beerhouse on Long ...

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

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

Excentric InteriorTransformation Tuesday at Excentric ...

First-time clients will receive a complimentary Olaplex in-salon treatment when ...

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 ...

My Fair LadyMy Fair Lady at Artscape

With a little bit of luck you’ll dance all night after seeing this loverly ...

Backtracker Cycling Back UnitCycling Events in the Western Cape

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

mischu coffee showroom in sea point cape townFree Coffee Beans and Capsules at ...

Simply mention CapeTownMagazine.com while placing an order of coffee beans or ...

Boschendal Wine FarmPicnic Lunches at Boschendal Wine Farm

Delight in an alfresco feast at one of the most picturesque wineries in the ...

OmniBlend6Quick and Easy Broccoli and Peanut Soup ...

We teamed up with the folks at OmniBlend blenders HQ to bring you this tasty ...

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