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
May 2016
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Coppelia BalletCoppelia Ballet at the Artscape Theatre

Enjoy the intrigue, romance and deception of this comic ballet

Good Food and Wine ShowThe Cape Town Good Food and Wine Show

Catch the big guns of the culinary world at this year’s beloved expo

Cape Gate Bridal Fair cakeCape Gate Bridal Fair in Brackenfell

He liked it so he put a ring on it, now for the fun part

District Six Kanala Musical in Cape Town District Six - Kanala Musical

David Kramer brings another lekker local production to the Mother City

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 ...

Cape Town Concert SeriesCape Town Concert Series at the Baxter ...

Add a sweet melody to the end of your summer with these stirring and soulful ...

Wine Flies Forgotten Route TourThe Forgotten Route Train Tour to ...

Take the road less travelled on a two-day adventure to the Klein Karoo

HQ-web-ready-259.jpgFriday Night DJ and Dancing at HQ ...

#AfterDark with DJ Rene: start the weekend with a steak dinner, stylish ...

Salt River Carnival 1The Salt River Food and Lifestyle ...

There is little more magical than a carnival

Jack Parow Winter Tour 2Jack Parow Winter Tour

Jack Parow is touring Cape Town

De Hoop Nature ReserveYoga Retreat at De Hoop Nature Reserve

Unleash your downward dog in fantastical fynbos at this gorgeous reserve

Bread_interior3_-_Copy.jpgLive Jazz and 30% Off Cocktails at ...

Start your weekend the smooth way with drinks, music and tapas on the terrace ...

Cheap as Chips 3Cheap as Chips Market

Support local skaters and fill your winter wardrobe at the same time!

Burst 1The Burst Exhibition at Gallery MOMO

Challenge the stereotypes attached to the black female form

Snow World 5Snow World Snow Park at GrandWest

It’s finally going to snow in Cape Town!

Hello Shimmy 2Hello Cape Town at Shimmy Beach Club

Say goodbye to the season with one last bash at Shimmy

Optical Diversion ExhibitionOptical Diversion Exhibition at ...

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

I See You at the FugardI See You at The Fugard Theatre

Witness an all-star cast and director bring this poignant play home

Underwater Photographer of the YearThe Underwater Photographer of the Year ...

Dive down deep into an underwater world of superlative photography

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

Lunares - 2Lunares Flamenco Showcase

Flamenco is much more than just billowy skirts and matadors

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 ...

Life-Rob Van Vuuren-3Life by Rob van Vuuren

Laugh out loud as Rob van Vuuren takes the funny back in time to the date of ...

Backtracker Cycling Back UnitCycling Events in the Western Cape

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

Burn the FloorBurn the Floor Dance Show at the Baxter ...

Sinfully sexy, this dance showcase is about to get hot!

The Underwater ExhibitionUnderwater Cape Town Exhibition

A kaleidoscope of skin comes to life in a popular pool

Strolla Restaurant and Bar in Sea PointPizza & Cocktails at Strolla Restaurant ...

Usher in the weekend with tasty nosh and dazzling concoctions at this new ...

marianne wine estate 6Dinner and Jazz Special at Marianne ...

Wind down with some great food and free live music every Friday evening

Om Revolution sunsetOutdoor Weekend Yoga Classes with The ...

Bend, stretch and meditate with this affordable mobile yoga studio in and ...

World of Adventure Logo FinalWorld of Adventure at ROOT44 Market

Grab the whole family and head down to this fun-filled play zone on the R44 in ...

KIN-Maria-Lebedeva-Safari-Unicorn_1024x1024.jpgSafari Series Limited-Edition Prints by ...

This meticulously crafted series of South African illustrations was inspired by ...

Bye Cycle Peddling the Promenade Cycle Tour in Cape TownPeddling the Sea Point Promenade Tour ...

CapeTownMag readers get a special discount on Fridays when booking a trip on an ...

Harald's Bar and Terrace at Park Inn Foreshore in Cape TownFriday Night Live at Harald’s Bar and ...

Ease into the weekend with some sultry tunes at this speak-easy rooftop shindig

Bay Harbour Market in Hout Bay Cape TownFriday Night at The Bay Harbour Market

Ring in the weekend with live music, craft beer, hearty fare and happy shopping ...

Coppelia BalletCoppelia Ballet at the Artscape Theatre

Enjoy the intrigue, romance and deception of this comic ballet

Good Food and Wine ShowThe Cape Town Good Food and Wine Show

Catch the big guns of the culinary world at this year’s beloved expo

Cape Gate Bridal Fair cakeCape Gate Bridal Fair in Brackenfell

He liked it so he put a ring on it, now for the fun part

District Six Kanala Musical in Cape Town District Six - Kanala Musical

David Kramer brings another lekker local production to the Mother City

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 ...

Cape Town Concert SeriesCape Town Concert Series at the Baxter ...

Add a sweet melody to the end of your summer with these stirring and soulful ...

Wine Flies Forgotten Route TourThe Forgotten Route Train Tour to ...

Take the road less travelled on a two-day adventure to the Klein Karoo

HQ-web-ready-259.jpgFriday Night DJ and Dancing at HQ ...

#AfterDark with DJ Rene: start the weekend with a steak dinner, stylish ...

Salt River Carnival 1The Salt River Food and Lifestyle ...

There is little more magical than a carnival

Jack Parow Winter Tour 2Jack Parow Winter Tour

Jack Parow is touring Cape Town

De Hoop Nature ReserveYoga Retreat at De Hoop Nature Reserve

Unleash your downward dog in fantastical fynbos at this gorgeous reserve

Bread_interior3_-_Copy.jpgLive Jazz and 30% Off Cocktails at ...

Start your weekend the smooth way with drinks, music and tapas on the terrace ...

Cheap as Chips 3Cheap as Chips Market

Support local skaters and fill your winter wardrobe at the same time!

Burst 1The Burst Exhibition at Gallery MOMO

Challenge the stereotypes attached to the black female form

Snow World 5Snow World Snow Park at GrandWest

It’s finally going to snow in Cape Town!

Hello Shimmy 2Hello Cape Town at Shimmy Beach Club

Say goodbye to the season with one last bash at Shimmy

Optical Diversion ExhibitionOptical Diversion Exhibition at ...

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

I See You at the FugardI See You at The Fugard Theatre

Witness an all-star cast and director bring this poignant play home

Underwater Photographer of the YearThe Underwater Photographer of the Year ...

Dive down deep into an underwater world of superlative photography

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

Lunares - 2Lunares Flamenco Showcase

Flamenco is much more than just billowy skirts and matadors

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 ...

Life-Rob Van Vuuren-3Life by Rob van Vuuren

Laugh out loud as Rob van Vuuren takes the funny back in time to the date of ...

Backtracker Cycling Back UnitCycling Events in the Western Cape

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

Burn the FloorBurn the Floor Dance Show at the Baxter ...

Sinfully sexy, this dance showcase is about to get hot!

The Underwater ExhibitionUnderwater Cape Town Exhibition

A kaleidoscope of skin comes to life in a popular pool

Strolla Restaurant and Bar in Sea PointPizza & Cocktails at Strolla Restaurant ...

Usher in the weekend with tasty nosh and dazzling concoctions at this new ...

marianne wine estate 6Dinner and Jazz Special at Marianne ...

Wind down with some great food and free live music every Friday evening

Om Revolution sunsetOutdoor Weekend Yoga Classes with The ...

Bend, stretch and meditate with this affordable mobile yoga studio in and ...

World of Adventure Logo FinalWorld of Adventure at ROOT44 Market

Grab the whole family and head down to this fun-filled play zone on the R44 in ...

KIN-Maria-Lebedeva-Safari-Unicorn_1024x1024.jpgSafari Series Limited-Edition Prints by ...

This meticulously crafted series of South African illustrations was inspired by ...

Bye Cycle Peddling the Promenade Cycle Tour in Cape TownPeddling the Sea Point Promenade Tour ...

CapeTownMag readers get a special discount on Fridays when booking a trip on an ...

Harald's Bar and Terrace at Park Inn Foreshore in Cape TownFriday Night Live at Harald’s Bar and ...

Ease into the weekend with some sultry tunes at this speak-easy rooftop shindig

Bay Harbour Market in Hout Bay Cape TownFriday Night at The Bay Harbour Market

Ring in the weekend with live music, craft beer, hearty fare and happy shopping ...

Vintage Expo 1The Winter Vintage Extravaganza

Winter is the time of hot chocolate, cold weather and shopping galore

Cape Chamber of Commerce Small Business ExpoCape Chamber of Commerce Small Business ...

Be inspired to achieve greater success at this unique expo in Cape Town

Oratorio 1Oratorio of a Forgotten Youth: Musical ...

Collectively, we South Africans, owe these brave people everything

EduJazz -3The Sekunjalo Edujazz Concert

Support local up-and-coming Jazz artists

Folk and Acoustic 4Nu Breed Folk ’n Acoustic Concert at ...

Celebrate one of Cape Town’s favourite genres of music

Hidden Leaf SignHidden Leaf in Woodstock

Enjoy good vibes and great fare at this new Cape Town boutique eatery

Benguela Exterior NighttimeBenguela on Main in Somerset West: Fine ...

Innovatively reimagined French classics dance on the plate and palate at this ...

Shamilla Miller 210 Questions For: Shamilla Miller

This Cape Town-born actress is no stranger to the spotlight and is most ...

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