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 2017
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This authentically Portuguese restaurant brings the heat this winter

King Kong - 2The Legendary SA Musical, King Kong, is Back!

We’ve got five reasons that will convince you to drop everything and book your seat for this iconic musical’s revival!

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Sacred and spiritual music in Xhosa, Tswana, English and Zulu

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Sashimi made easy

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Get the staff bonding with this exhilarating live group escape game in Cape Town

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Feast 2The Friday Night Feast at the Palms Décor & Lifestyle Centre

Let your inner-foodie loose at this night market, situated in the historic Palms Lifestyle and Décor Centre

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Get a three-for-two deal on any authentic Turkish appetizers every Thursday!

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Be blown away by the sunset over the Atlantic Seaboard from an electric two-wheeler at half the price!

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Enjoy the outdoors with this Aquila Game Reserve special offer

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Enjoy the best winter comforts at the fraction of the cost

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

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

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Brighten the midweek with a superb Thursday dental deal

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Supper and Stage make for a delectable evening’s entertainment

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Kick start your weekend with DJ nights every Thursday, Friday and Saturday

Glowing Rooms 3Glowing Rooms SA offers a special opening price!

Pay a special rate for entrance into SA’s first 3D space-themed glow-in-the-dark mini-golf adventure

Orphanage-cocktail-emporium-winesCocktails and Dancing at Orphanage Cocktail Emporium

Make Thursdays memorable with deep house and drinks at Cape Town’s favourite speakeasy

Avontuur Wine and Macaron PairingSpecialist Tastings at Avontuur Wine Estate

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Buy one portion of noodles and get another free at this seaside spot on Thursdays

Hout Bay Dental Studio 2016 3Professional Teeth Cleaning Special at Hout Bay Dental Studio

Spruce up your pearly whites with this 20% discount for CapeTownMagazine.com readers

Vista Parties Ocean Adventurer 3Vista Parties Ocean Adventurer Birthday Party Package

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