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
June 2016
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One Day Jewellery WorkshopMake Your Own Jewellery Workshop

Discover the joy of jewellery design in Giselle Petty’s one-day workshop

UEFA Euro 2016 4UEFA Euro 2016

Some of Europe’s finest national football teams compete for the European ...

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

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

Winter Wonderland - 5Gordons Bay Winter Wonderland Festival

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The FirebirdThe Firebird Dance Performance at ...

From the creators of the life-size 'War Horse' puppet comes a poignant tale of ...

Vortex Phoenix Festival of FireVortex Phoenix Festival of Fire

Get ready for a fiery winter stomp-fest that will help dispel those chilly ...

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 ...

Delheim Mushroom WeekDelheim Wild Mushroom Hunt

Put the fun back in fungi at this Stellenbosch estate’s annual forest forage

Christmas in Winter TulbaghTulbagh Christmas in Winter Festival

The most wonderful time of the year comes early in this Western Cape town

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

David Kramer brings another lekker local production to the Mother City

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Haute Cabriere 12Wine tasting at Haute Cabrière

Spend Saturday at one of Franschhoek’s stunning wine estates

Cape Bike TravelChauffeured motorbike rides around Cape ...

Arrive in style and see the Mother City from the back of a Harley-Davidson ...

MV Logos HopeMV Logos Hope Book Fair at the V&A ...

The “World’s Largest Floating Bookshop” sails into Cape Town

Brunch Club 3Absolut Brunch Club - Wimbledon

Nothing says Wimbledon quite like Pimms, gin and strawberries

Boschendal Mushroom ForageMushroom Foraging Weekend at Boschendal

Enjoy a magical journey into nature at the fungi foraging weekend at Boschendal

Benguela Lakeside Lodge JettyWine Tasting on the Lake at Lakeside ...

Sniff, sip and swirl while cruising the Swartvlei Lagoon at this five‐star ...

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 ...

Wizard of Oz - 1The Wizard of Oz at The Playhouse ...

There’s no place like Oz…

Francois VC - 2Francois van Coke and Karen Zoid Toe ...

Afrikaans rock at its best!

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

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

River Club 2016 1Golfer’s Breakfast Special at the ...

Make the most of the work week with a morning of good grub and elegant swings

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 ...

Backtracker Cycling Back UnitCycling Events in the Western Cape

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

aFREAKa Clothing Kid White Tiger OnesieaFREAKa Clothing Kids Onesies

Treat your little ones to a fun and trendy top quality animal or INYE onesie

Beerhouse Restaurant and Bar in Cape TownBeerrunch Weekend Brunch at Beerhouse ...

Spend the weekend with one of the best combinations known to man: tasty grub ...

Camissa Eco TourThe Eco-friendly Train Township Tour ...

Grow more than just your cultural quotient on this interactive excursion to the ...

Historic Wine Flies Tours South AfricaWine Flies Wine Tours

Experience the Cape Winelands like a local

One Day Jewellery WorkshopMake Your Own Jewellery Workshop

Discover the joy of jewellery design in Giselle Petty’s one-day workshop

UEFA Euro 2016 4UEFA Euro 2016

Some of Europe’s finest national football teams compete for the European ...

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

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

Winter Wonderland - 5Gordons Bay Winter Wonderland Festival

Head to this not-so-sleepy town for warming food, wine and family friendly ...

The FirebirdThe Firebird Dance Performance at ...

From the creators of the life-size 'War Horse' puppet comes a poignant tale of ...

Vortex Phoenix Festival of FireVortex Phoenix Festival of Fire

Get ready for a fiery winter stomp-fest that will help dispel those chilly ...

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 ...

Delheim Mushroom WeekDelheim Wild Mushroom Hunt

Put the fun back in fungi at this Stellenbosch estate’s annual forest forage

Christmas in Winter TulbaghTulbagh Christmas in Winter Festival

The most wonderful time of the year comes early in this Western Cape town

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 ...

Haute Cabriere 12Wine tasting at Haute Cabrière

Spend Saturday at one of Franschhoek’s stunning wine estates

Cape Bike TravelChauffeured motorbike rides around Cape ...

Arrive in style and see the Mother City from the back of a Harley-Davidson ...

MV Logos HopeMV Logos Hope Book Fair at the V&A ...

The “World’s Largest Floating Bookshop” sails into Cape Town

Brunch Club 3Absolut Brunch Club - Wimbledon

Nothing says Wimbledon quite like Pimms, gin and strawberries

Boschendal Mushroom ForageMushroom Foraging Weekend at Boschendal

Enjoy a magical journey into nature at the fungi foraging weekend at Boschendal

Benguela Lakeside Lodge JettyWine Tasting on the Lake at Lakeside ...

Sniff, sip and swirl while cruising the Swartvlei Lagoon at this five‐star ...

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 ...

Wizard of Oz - 1The Wizard of Oz at The Playhouse ...

There’s no place like Oz…

Francois VC - 2Francois van Coke and Karen Zoid Toe ...

Afrikaans rock at its best!

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

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

River Club 2016 1Golfer’s Breakfast Special at the ...

Make the most of the work week with a morning of good grub and elegant swings

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 ...

Backtracker Cycling Back UnitCycling Events in the Western Cape

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

aFREAKa Clothing Kid White Tiger OnesieaFREAKa Clothing Kids Onesies

Treat your little ones to a fun and trendy top quality animal or INYE onesie

Beerhouse Restaurant and Bar in Cape TownBeerrunch Weekend Brunch at Beerhouse ...

Spend the weekend with one of the best combinations known to man: tasty grub ...

Camissa Eco TourThe Eco-friendly Train Township Tour ...

Grow more than just your cultural quotient on this interactive excursion to the ...

Historic Wine Flies Tours South AfricaWine Flies Wine Tours

Experience the Cape Winelands like a local

Standard Bank Duo ChallengeStandard Bank Duo Challenge at ...

Get your heart rate up with some exercise through the most beautiful ...

Bowhaus WashHausBowhaus Bath Brush and Doggy Daycare ...

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

Craig Leo 110 Questions for: Craig Leo

Meet South African puppeteer Craig Leo who has wowed audiences with his talent ...

Veld and Sea Winter Foraging EventsWinter Foraging and Fermentation Events ...

Pick your own produce and learn about the latest craze in organic foods – ...

CityRock Kids Holiday ProgrammeKids’ Rock Climbing Holiday Programme

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Decompression AfrikaBurn After PartyDecompression Party with AfrikaBurn

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