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
February 2018
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Hey Baby Boutique Fair 2Hey Baby Boutique Fair at Venue ...

Shop around for unique family products at this moms and tots market

Cape Culinary Tours Valentine's Day InclusionTake a Bite into History with Cape Town ...

Learn about Cape Town’s past while savouring local cuisine with these informative walking tours

Rocklands Road Little Deer MarketThe First Deer Little Market of 2018 at ...

Bring your little deers to Vredehoek’s hippest, happiest mini-me market

Taming of the Shrew 15 Feb - 1 March 2018 - 1An All-Female Cast is Shaking Up One of ...

The Taming of the Shrew at Maynardville Open Air Theatre boasts an all-female cast – a first for this popular venue

Stellenbosch Wine Festival 2018Enjoy the Taste of 60 Wines at this ...

In vino we trust at the Stellenbosch Wine Festival

Shimmy Beach ClubBeach House Sundays at Shimmy Beach Club

Sun, sand, sea and glitz – the weekend isn’t over until you’re relaxing at Shimmy Beach Club

Battlefield Live SA Laser Tag Children's Events Cape TownKids’ Party Special with Battlefield ...

Treat your little one to the ultimate birthday bash and save on the group price

A Touch Of Madness Burgers and Beers 5Saturdays are for Sunny Daytime Parties ...

Touchdown Saturdays’ DJ, drink specials and sunny courtyard are ideal for summer afternoons

Shimmy Beach ClubFamily Fun at Shimmy Beach Club Cape ...

Infinity pools, jacuzzis, a man-made beach and a kid’s corner, all in one location

Kirstenbosch Summer ConcertsKirstenbosch Goes Big for 2017/2018 ...

Oude 2Enjoy a night of entertainment with the ...

Picturesque views form the backdrop to this open-air Oude Libertas theatre. It’s just waiting to host you and your family for a night of delight

OM Revolution Sunday Sunset Clifton Beach Yoga ...

Embrace your inner yogi on the beach and end the weekend off right!

Tobago's Restaurant and BarEat Away the Sunday Blues at Tobago’s ...

Sundays well spent bring a week of content

marc lottering cape town comedy clubHalf-Price Sundays Stand-Up at Cape ...

Laugh 50% off top-notch entertainment every last day of the week at this one-stop-funny-shop

Galileo - BlaauwklippenA Weekend Spent with The Galileo Open ...

Start your weekend with a little inner-city or wineland movie screening

Cafe ExtrablattSunday Brunch at Café Extrablatt

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

Open Streets Main RoadOpen Streets Main Road 2018: Rethinking ...

Over 5km of car-free playground from Observatory to the city centre, letting the public reclaim and reimagine this space

Markets3Sunday markets in and around Cape Town

Take it easy this Sunday at one of these great Sunday markets to take a stroll through

MAReSOLSatisfying Specials at MAReSOL ...

Food that will make your palate and pocket happy

sea kayaking 12 apostlesSea Kayaking Weekend Family Special

Buy one adult kayaking ticket and get a kids ticket FREE with Kaskazi

ScootoursJunior Passengers Ride FREE Every ...

This exciting off-road adventure provides fun for the whole family

GONOW LogoGet a discount on Sunday Sunsets with ...

Watch the sun set over the Sea Point Promenade from an electric two-wheeler at half the price!

The Backyard Grill Lounge RibsBBQ Ribs Special at The Backyard Grill ...

Savour succulent, sticky ribs for just R150 per kilogram on Wed, Sat and Sun

Dizzys Camps BayDizzys Beer Pong and DJ Sundays ...

Are you Cape Town’s next beer pong champ?

Bugz Playpark in Cape TownSunday Funday at Bugz Playpark

Every Sunday, CapeTownMagazine.com readers can enjoy a day of fun and learning with their children.

A Touch Of Madness Burgers and Beers 4Enjoy a Burger and Beer Combo On Sunday ...

This iconic Observatory restaurant offers a special Sunday burger deal that comes with a free beer

Workshop - 5Short Courses at the Cape Town ...

Mix, mingle and learn at this year’s Jazz Festival

Piano Bar 2016 food and cocktails 5Bubbly Special at The Piano Bar

Make this charming musical revue haunt home on Sunday afternoons for half price glasses of MCC

Roast and Co 22-for-1 Drink Specials at Roast & Co

Every day “on your way” at Roast & Co. – enjoy 2-for-1 drink specials and discover the coolest mugs

Cape Culinary Tours Valentine's Day InclusionTake a Bite into History with Cape Town ...

Learn about Cape Town’s past while savouring local cuisine with these informative walking tours

Taming of the Shrew 15 Feb - 1 March 2018 - 1An All-Female Cast is Shaking Up One of ...

The Taming of the Shrew at Maynardville Open Air Theatre boasts an all-female cast – a first for this popular venue

Shimmy Beach ClubBeach House Sundays at Shimmy Beach Club

Sun, sand, sea and glitz – the weekend isn’t over until you’re relaxing at Shimmy Beach Club

A Touch Of Madness Burgers and Beers 5Saturdays are for Sunny Daytime Parties ...

Touchdown Saturdays’ DJ, drink specials and sunny courtyard are ideal for summer afternoons

Oude 2Enjoy a night of entertainment with the ...

Picturesque views form the backdrop to this open-air Oude Libertas theatre. It’s just waiting to host you and your family for a night of delight

Galileo - BlaauwklippenA Weekend Spent with The Galileo Open ...

Start your weekend with a little inner-city or wineland movie screening

ElectroFitnessR99 Try Out Specials Sessions at ...

Get our Reader Special Offer for R99 and burn upto 3000 calories in 20 minutes

SwordfernSwordfern Hair Emporium’s ...

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

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

Workshop - 5Short Courses at the Cape Town ...

Mix, mingle and learn at this year’s Jazz Festival

RicksHappy Hour Special at Rick’s Café ...

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

My Miriam Makeba Story - 3A Moving Musical About Miriam Makeba

Young vocalist Sima Mashazi takes the life of a legend and makes it her own in ...

CFlat Youth Jazz FestCFlat Youth Jazz Festival at Steenberg ...

Jazz it up with Cape Town schools and legendary jazz performers at the CFlat ...

Hey Baby Boutique Fair 2Hey Baby Boutique Fair at Venue ...

Shop around for unique family products at this moms and tots market

Hot Skillet New PlaceThe Hot Skillet: Serving Up South ...

Getting creative with your food takes on a whole new meaning at The Hot Skillet

Roast and Co 22-for-1 Drink Specials at Roast & Co

Every day “on your way” at Roast & Co. – enjoy 2-for-1 drink specials and ...

Roast and Co 9Saturday Lunch Fun at Roast & Co.

Every Saturday in the historic Heritage Square courtyard, Roast & Co. serves up ...

Palm Black TattooGet Tattooed and Be a Canvas of Your ...

Let these talented artists decorate your skin

Roast & Co.Roast & Co. Rotisserie Chicken ...

The chickens have come home to roost at Roast & Co., a Heritage Square ...

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