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
September 2017
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Cafe ExtrablattMonday Madness at Café Extrablatt

The international franchise is here to blow you away with this pizza deal every Monday

Swordfern Exterior by NightSwordfern Hair Emporium’s Bring A Bro Hair Special

Bring your bro and get a haircut on the house from Swordfern

Cape Town Fringe - 2017 - 1Cape Town Fringe Festival

Find out why Cape Town is SA’s capital of creativity at this popular arts fandango

Cafe ExtrablattSunday Brunch at Café Extrablatt

Home to one of Cape Town’s most affordable all-you-can-eat breakfast buffets

La Motte ConcertsClassical Concerts at La Motte Wine Estate

La Motte's culture of excellence reaches far beyond wine-making, by embracing the wonder of classical music

La MotteHistoric Walk at La Motte in Franschhoek

Discover interesting history and heritage of the Franschhoek area on the La Motte estate in the Cape Winelands

La MotteSip and Swirl the Nectar of Yesteryear at La Motte

You had me at Merlot

ElectroFitnessDiscounted Group Sessions at ElectroFitness

Burn 3000 calories in under 30 minutes

SwordfernSwordfern Hair Emporium’s Gender-Neutral Cuts

Cutting costs, and saving water, with gender-neutral haircuts at Swordfern

NAC Helicopter Cape Town Tours & FlightsHelicopter Tour Special with NAC Cape Town

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

decodanceWild West Presented by Decodance Night Club

Dress to impress for the Wild West

EclecticaEclectica Design and Art Presents ‘Dream Rift’

Brush away all the facts, and journey to a world connected by dreams and realities

Painterly Group Exhibition‘Painterly’ Group Exhibition at the Grande Provence Gallery

The beauty of oil paint steals the show at this art showcase

MAReSOLMAReSOL’s Mouth-Watering Winter Menu

This authentically Portuguese restaurant brings the heat this winter

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.

HQ Restaurant steakhouse in Cape TownSteak Dinner Special at HQ Restaurant

#2For1 Mondays: get twice the sirloin, salad and chips at Headquarters for once the price

mavericksHave a Big Night Out at Mavericks Gentlemen’s Club

Score entry, a beer, a burger and a table dance for less than you’d expect at this Mother City revue bar

RicksHappy Hour Special at Rick’s Café Américain

With over 600 beverage options, you'll certainly be spoilt for choice

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

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

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

Cafe ExtrablattMonday Madness at Café Extrablatt

The international franchise is here to blow you away with this pizza deal every Monday

Swordfern Exterior by NightSwordfern Hair Emporium’s Bring A Bro Hair Special

Bring your bro and get a haircut on the house from Swordfern

Cape Town Fringe - 2017 - 1Cape Town Fringe Festival

Find out why Cape Town is SA’s capital of creativity at this popular arts fandango

Cafe ExtrablattSunday Brunch at Café Extrablatt

Home to one of Cape Town’s most affordable all-you-can-eat breakfast buffets

La Motte ConcertsClassical Concerts at La Motte Wine Estate

La Motte's culture of excellence reaches far beyond wine-making, by embracing the wonder of classical music

La MotteHistoric Walk at La Motte in Franschhoek

Discover interesting history and heritage of the Franschhoek area on the La Motte estate in the Cape Winelands

La MotteSip and Swirl the Nectar of Yesteryear at La Motte

You had me at Merlot

ElectroFitnessDiscounted Group Sessions at ElectroFitness

Burn 3000 calories in under 30 minutes

SwordfernSwordfern Hair Emporium’s Gender-Neutral Cuts

Cutting costs, and saving water, with gender-neutral haircuts at Swordfern

NAC Helicopter Cape Town Tours & FlightsHelicopter Tour Special with NAC Cape Town

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

decodanceWild West Presented by Decodance Night Club

Dress to impress for the Wild West

EclecticaEclectica Design and Art Presents ‘Dream Rift’

Brush away all the facts, and journey to a world connected by dreams and realities

Painterly Group Exhibition‘Painterly’ Group Exhibition at the Grande Provence Gallery

The beauty of oil paint steals the show at this art showcase

MAReSOLMAReSOL’s Mouth-Watering Winter Menu

This authentically Portuguese restaurant brings the heat this winter

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.

HQ Restaurant steakhouse in Cape TownSteak Dinner Special at HQ Restaurant

#2For1 Mondays: get twice the sirloin, salad and chips at Headquarters for once the price

mavericksHave a Big Night Out at Mavericks Gentlemen’s Club

Score entry, a beer, a burger and a table dance for less than you’d expect at this Mother City revue bar

RicksHappy Hour Special at Rick’s Café Américain

With over 600 beverage options, you'll certainly be spoilt for choice

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

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

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

The Sunday Edition - 1Sunday Edition Series at the ...

Vinyl merchants. Local designers. Zine-makers. Street chefs. Disc jockeys. ...

Zeitz MocaaAn overview of the work on show at the ...

All the exhibitions currently on show at Zeitz MOCAA

Open Streets Main RoadOpen Streets Main Road

Take back the streets for a day at this free festival

Wild Shots Photography ConferenceWild Shots Photography Conference

Wildlife photographers from around the world share their work, tips, insights ...

Cuppa 4 Care‘Cuppa 4 Care’ Mad Hatter’s Tea ...

Attend a real-life Mad Hatter’s Tea Party in support of this charity

LEAPS AdoptionLEAPS Dog Adoption Day at the ...

Meet four-legged furry friends looking for a loving home

Conscious confidence workshopPersonal Archetype and Conscious ...

Celebrate yourself with some tips from this workshop

The PeacockIndian Tapas at The Peacock in ...

Experience the best of Indian food… tapas style!

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