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
April 2017
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The Charles Café Malay MondaysMalay Mondays at The Charles Café

Tuck into the Cape Malay culture at these weekly themed dinners, every Monday

HQ Monday night steak special logoSteak Dinner Special at HQ Restaurant

#2For1Unplugged Mondays: get twice the sirloin, salad and chips at Headquarters for once the price

What Art is For Exhibition What Art Is FOR Exhibition

Experience art for the eye, the heart and the soul

PPG - 1Powerpuff Girls Art Factory Exhibition

Sugar, spice and everything alternative

I Love Big Bay Spring MarketI Love Big Bay Market

Put a spring in your step at this fabulous evening market

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

The Long Shots Improv Comedy Troupe Improv Mondays: The Long Shots Improvised Comedy Troupe

The Long Shots create unique scenes on the spot. Everything is improvised – no script, no planning – just pure comedy in the moment.

AfrikaBurn1Afrikaburn Festival

The dusty Karoo desert comes alive to host one of the most radical festivals on the festival lover’s calendar

Galileo Open Air Cinema Cape TownThe Galileo Open Air Cinema in the Cape Winelands and Cape Town Venues

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

Postcard view of Cape Town South AfricaHelicopter Tour Special with NAC Cape Town

Save 15% on breathtaking private helicopter flights around the Mother City until 31 August 2017

Cape Quarter ExteriorFREE Weekly Yoga Class at Cape Quarter

Enrich your physical, mental and spiritual state three times a week at this complimentary stretch session in Green Point

Rush X FIT 2RUSH X FIT Trampoline Fitness Training

Jump, leap and fly your body into better shape at this fun and exhilarating weekly indoor workout in Claremont

Into The Blue Seal 2Seal Snorkeling Special with Into The Blue Scuba Dive Centre

Snorkel with seals and receive a 10% discount when mentioning CapeTownMagazine.com

Piano Bar 2016 food and cocktails 4Date Night at The Piano Bar in Cape Town

Tuck into four tapas and a bottle of wine for R250 on Mondays at this intimate musical revue bar

Vista Parties World of Birds Bird 2Vista Parties' World of Birds Birthday Party Package

Road-trip to this fun Hout Bay park and spend your child’s special day amongst feathered friends

Avontuur Wine Estate horsesGuided Farm Walks on Avontuur Wine Estate in Stellenbosch

Take a stroll through this destination winery and learn more about its award-winning vino, champion race horses and rich family history

Tin Noakes Diet Salad from Rcaffe menuRcaffe's Tim Noakes Diet Menu Specials

This lovable Long Street restaurant’s new offering is perfect for those on the high-fat, low-carb Banting eating plan

The Charles Café Malay MondaysMalay Mondays at The Charles Café

Tuck into the Cape Malay culture at these weekly themed dinners, every Monday

HQ Monday night steak special logoSteak Dinner Special at HQ Restaurant

#2For1Unplugged Mondays: get twice the sirloin, salad and chips at Headquarters for once the price

What Art is For Exhibition What Art Is FOR Exhibition

Experience art for the eye, the heart and the soul

PPG - 1Powerpuff Girls Art Factory Exhibition

Sugar, spice and everything alternative

I Love Big Bay Spring MarketI Love Big Bay Market

Put a spring in your step at this fabulous evening market

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

The Long Shots Improv Comedy Troupe Improv Mondays: The Long Shots Improvised Comedy Troupe

The Long Shots create unique scenes on the spot. Everything is improvised – no script, no planning – just pure comedy in the moment.

AfrikaBurn1Afrikaburn Festival

The dusty Karoo desert comes alive to host one of the most radical festivals on the festival lover’s calendar

Galileo Open Air Cinema Cape TownThe Galileo Open Air Cinema in the Cape Winelands and Cape Town Venues

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

Postcard view of Cape Town South AfricaHelicopter Tour Special with NAC Cape Town

Save 15% on breathtaking private helicopter flights around the Mother City until 31 August 2017

Cape Quarter ExteriorFREE Weekly Yoga Class at Cape Quarter

Enrich your physical, mental and spiritual state three times a week at this complimentary stretch session in Green Point

Rush X FIT 2RUSH X FIT Trampoline Fitness Training

Jump, leap and fly your body into better shape at this fun and exhilarating weekly indoor workout in Claremont

Into The Blue Seal 2Seal Snorkeling Special with Into The Blue Scuba Dive Centre

Snorkel with seals and receive a 10% discount when mentioning CapeTownMagazine.com

Piano Bar 2016 food and cocktails 4Date Night at The Piano Bar in Cape Town

Tuck into four tapas and a bottle of wine for R250 on Mondays at this intimate musical revue bar

Vista Parties World of Birds Bird 2Vista Parties' World of Birds Birthday Party Package

Road-trip to this fun Hout Bay park and spend your child’s special day amongst feathered friends

Avontuur Wine Estate horsesGuided Farm Walks on Avontuur Wine Estate in Stellenbosch

Take a stroll through this destination winery and learn more about its award-winning vino, champion race horses and rich family history

Tin Noakes Diet Salad from Rcaffe menuRcaffe's Tim Noakes Diet Menu Specials

This lovable Long Street restaurant’s new offering is perfect for those on the high-fat, low-carb Banting eating plan

Table Mountain JO Cape Town named one of the world's most ...

With affordable beer and fabulous festivals, the Mother City wins over the ...

FanCon Cape TownWorker’s Day Events

We’ve compiled a list of the best ways to spend your next public holiday; ...

National Alpaca Day - 5National Alpaca Day

These little fluffies are too adorable for words!

Craft Beer on Lawns - 3Craft Beer on the Lawns

Local craft beer enjoyed with a view of the Atlantic Ocean

Autumn(ism) - 2Autumn(ism) with Binah

Be a part of Autism Awareness Month

Pebbleman - 1Prime Circle Rock Fest at Hillcrest ...

Get into the swing of things with some authentic rock music!

Kelvin Grove Dinner - 1Gourmet Dinner with Leopard’s Leap ...

Pair some delicious food with some award-winning local wines!

Grassy Spark - 3Five Years of Grassy Spark

It’s their birthday, and we cannot wait to celebrate with these local lads!

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