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
August 2019
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Toybox_4Step Into The Toybox Universe: Billy ...

Bass … Brazilian bass … Plus a touch of techno and afro-house too

William_Kentridge_2A Monumental Exhibition To Open At The ...

The iconic South African artist’s largest exhibition in Africa in over a decade

the_greatest_little_circus_showGravity-defying Trapeze, Acrobatics And ...

Inspired by 'The Greatest Showman', this local circus tells the story of how the ...

friday_night_live_aces_n_spadeA Raucous Night At The Good Bar Where ...

Live music and DJs at no charge + half-price drinks + R50 pizza until late

Ash_EvansBecome A Video Star

Learn how to handle yourself on camera

rotterdamUltimate Bachelorette Party: The Girls ...

Three days of gin pairings, massages and pool (or fireside bar) parties on a private ...

Jedi Tedi 3Drink Rosé & Find Inner Peace

Yoga, meditation and rosé on tap at this Women’s Day brunch in Milnerton

WildFlower2Join The Wild Flower Tour Madiba Did

Stay in a luxury guesthouse and learn about more than 1200 flower species

Kinky BootsSmash-Hit Kinky Boots Extended To 2020 ...

With music by Cyndi Lauper, several Tonys and a Laurence Olivier Award

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All aboard, gin lovers. You’re about to discover Cape Town’s hidden gin gems

sundoo2019_10Lamb Curry to Duck Briyani and Bunny ...

Sundoo’s South-Indian-inspired tapas are ideal for that lazy lunch that turns into ...

grub_vine_8What Happens at Brunch Club at Grub & ...

Chef Matt Manning serves a two-, three- or five-course brunch

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Discover the mysterious Lavender Lady, an unsinkable coffin, butchering barbers, exhumed ...

greyton_brew_runPsssst … Save The Date, Limited ...

With a coffee brew at the start and a barley brew at the end, the Greyton Brew run is ...

OX Seals 04Smile: You Get 10% Off Seal Snorkelling ...

Up close with wild Cape fur seals in small, intimate excursions that are super special, ...

tigger_2_royaleOn Bended Knee, Out At Sea, Aboard The ...

Turn the Tigger 2 Royale catamaran into your personal Love Boat, with their special ...

Teen Photography Boot CampTake Your Shot: Photography Boot Camp ...

The course includes live demo training, camera equipment to hire plus an official ...

Jack BlackBeers and Bands at Jack Black Brewery ...

Every Friday night the Jack Black stage is lit up with local talent

Knife 6A Meal and Sparkling Wine on the House ...

Knife will treat you to a free meal on any Saturday that falls in the month of your ...

Camissa Tour 5 2015Get A Unique Sunday Gospel Experience ...

Embark on a spiritual Sunday journey through one of the Mother City’s most soulful ...

Glowing Rooms 3Get a Great Saving on 3D Mini-Golf with ...

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

Om Revolution vinyasa poseHave an Outdoor Yoga Experience with ...

Embrace your inner yogi outdoors

Coco Safar Dinner NEW 2Indulge In Dinner and Dessert At Coco ...

And now they have added couture alcoholic cocktails to the menu at this all-day cafe

Battlefield Live SA Laser Tag Children's Events Cape TownSave on your kids’ birthday party ...

Make your kids’ birthday party extra special with outdoor laser tag with Battlefield ...

Nasty Womxn - 4But What If Medusa Had Won?

A sketch art exhibition retelling stories of Greek mythology from a women’s perspective

Vergenoegd_duckrun1Cheer On The Ducks At Vergenoegd Löw

Bring the kids along to experience the Duck Parade

Toybox_4Step Into The Toybox Universe: Billy ...

Bass … Brazilian bass … Plus a touch of techno and afro-house too

William_Kentridge_2A Monumental Exhibition To Open At The ...

The iconic South African artist’s largest exhibition in Africa in over a decade

the_greatest_little_circus_showGravity-defying Trapeze, Acrobatics And ...

Inspired by 'The Greatest Showman', this local circus tells the story of how the ...

Ash_EvansBecome A Video Star

Learn how to handle yourself on camera

blowfish_new_4Half-Price Sushi Every Wednesday and ...

And drink in the sunset and view (and a cocktail)

Jedi Tedi 3Drink Rosé & Find Inner Peace

Yoga, meditation and rosé on tap at this Women’s Day brunch in Milnerton

goudini_buffetA Sunday Buffet That’s Worth Taking A ...

Take your swimming gear along and enjoy the hot pools while you’re there

WildFlower2Join The Wild Flower Tour Madiba Did

Stay in a luxury guesthouse and learn about more than 1200 flower species

Kinky BootsSmash-Hit Kinky Boots Extended To 2020 ...

With music by Cyndi Lauper, several Tonys and a Laurence Olivier Award

chicha2Sundays at Chicha!: Wine Tasting and ...

Beat the Sunday blues with wine, tapas and live music

ac_marriott_roast2Treat the Fam To a Sunday Roast at AC ...

Don’t feel like cooking? Relax in the elegant AC Kitchen and let their chefs prepare a ...

Comedyclub_new12Half-Price Sunday Special at Cape Town ...

Experience Cape Town’s funniest comedians (for less on Sundays) at the Waterfront’s ...

LaParada22End The Weekend Right: Sunday Funday ...

Round off the weekend by dancing the day away at La Parada Constantia Nek’s Sunday ...

Om Revolution vinyasa poseHave an Outdoor Yoga Experience with ...

Embrace your inner yogi outdoors

Coco Safar 16The Weekend Spoil: Luxury Breakfast and ...

Sea Point’s premier all-day cafe offers a breakfast worth waking up early for, and a ...

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End the weekend on a high note with fun rides, educational play and something for ...

Vergenoegd_duckrun1Cheer On The Ducks At Vergenoegd Löw

Bring the kids along to experience the Duck Parade

veld_and_sea_pansiesSpring Flowers: Edible Flowers and ...

Where to go for foraging, fynbos tastings and apothecary workshops

Vintage_Market_2Vintage Treasures: Form Clothing To ...

Find hidden gems and unique antiques at this vintage market

SING_choir_extravaganzaSee The SA Choir (& 3 More Champions) ...

Watch the choir that wowed America’s Got Talent Live at Grand West

garden_cafeNEW: The Restaurant Made From a ...

A container cafe in a business park with well-priced lunch menu

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healthy_kids_are_coolA Market With Healthy Food Kids Won’t ...

Learn where good food comes from, how to read labels, what to avoid and get ...

With_You_FestivalTop SA And German DJs Ring In Festival ...

Feel the love in the city and make friends across the dancefloor at this house ...

kanu_run_1Kanu Wines Opens Its Gates For Its ...

And see what’s new at the Stellenbosch estate

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