Visiting Singapore in February? Make the most of what the city has to offer with these fun date ideas!
Before we get into the nitty gritty, let’s take a look back in time. It’s universally acknowledged that Valentine’s Day celebrates romantic love, but have you ever wondered why? It turns out that the history isn’t quite as rosy as one might expect.
The Bloody History of Valentine’s Day
You might be familiar with the Christian take on the day. Back in the old days (the middle ages), marriage was outlawed for men because they were deemed to be more useful in war. Ah, feudal times. St. Valentine felt the injustice of such a law, so he married young couples on the sly. Unfortunately, he was found out and ordered to be executed. There are several other stories portraying Valentine as a heroic and romantic figure, but the date itself probably aligns with this pagan fertility festival celebrated by the Romans: Lupercalia.
Yeah, it’s as strange as it looks.
Image credit: guides.wikinut.com
Lupercalia pays homage to the she-wolf which nursed Romulus and Remus when they were cast out of Rome as infants. To honour her, Roman priests, also called the Luperci, would sacrifice male goats and a dog in the cave where it was alleged that the suckling took place. The blood would be smeared on the foreheads of two Luperci with the sacrificial knife, then washed off with milk. Like it or not, the chosen Luperci had to laugh during this procedure.
After the sacrifice, feasting would begin, and the Luperci would cut the goat hide into strips, known as februa, and naked men would run around Rome waving them around, slapping anyone within reach. Their main target: women. Bizarrely, the women welcomed the whippings, as it was believed that they warded off infertility. During the festival, women would also put their names in a jar to be picked out by the men, and they would be coupled up for the duration of the festival. Many remained partners till the following year’s festival, and even ended up married.
The date? February 15. The Pope allegedly declared February 14 St. Valentine’s Day to distance the feast day from its pagan roots. And yes, February is named after the goat strips. Happy Valentine’s Day.
How to Celebrate
Now that we’ve gotten the weird history over and done with, let’s move on to celebration ideas. Because Valentine’s is awesome, right? No? Okay.
If you decide to carry on with your feasting and coupling on 14 February, you can rest assured that running around naked is an offence in Singapore. So is carrying a weapon. Here are some things to do that don’t involve violence, nudity, or excessive amounts of cash.
1. Take a Walk on the Wild Side
Arise at dawn! With numerous parks and nature reserves, Singapore is great for walkers and trekkers. What better way to learn about each other than through a few hours together in the wild? Take the TreeTop Walk (TTW) at MacRitchie Reservoir Park with your date! After a 1.5- to 2-hour trek, the experience will be worth it. People meant to be together smell together, right?
Route: Start and end at Venus Drive
Nearest MRT: Marymount; take bus 410 or 410G from Marymount station to Venus Drive
Admission fees: Free entry.
Opening hours: Tue-Fri 9am to 5pm; Sat, Sun and PH 8.30am to 5pm; Closed on Mon, except for PH
Please note that the TTW closes at 5pm sharp. NParks advises you to make your way to the bridge from the Ranger Station by 4.45pm at the very latest to avoid being locked out.
2. Lunch Actually
After breathing in the fresh scent of the rainforest, you must be itchy, sweaty, and ravenous. Now’s the perfect time to take things one step further—by taking your date out to lunch. You could always have a hearty meal at a nearby hawker centre, but oh, why not treat this as a special occasion? Go one step further than pricey cafes, try fine-dining on a budget. Gastronomad is situated just 3 bus stops away from MacRitchie. A caveat: the restaurant only accepts reservations at the moment, so do plan ahead!
Opening hours: Operates daily. Brunch 8 am to 5.30 pm, Dinner 6.30 pm to 11 pm
Address: 11 Sin Ming Road, Thomson V-Two, #01-30, Singapore 575629
Nearest MRT: Marymount
3. Explore Singapore’s Peranakan Heritage
Take the train from Marymount down south to Dakota, then transfer to bus 16 or 33. Alight 3 stops later and head down along the road until you get to Koon Seng Road. Be greeted by the colourful Peranakan Houses standing in a neat row. You might have seen them on Instagram, but nothing beats being there, surrounded by a mix of old and modern architecture. Be sure to explore the area for quirky murals. Get creative with your photos! If all goes well, your future grandchildren will be amused. If it doesn’t, you have great fodder for a bittersweet poem or song.
4. Make a Lovely Meal Together
Singaporeans are mixed bag of anything you can think of. But the one thing they are unequivocally proud of is Singaporean cuisine. A jumble of cuisines from around the region were infused with local magic, morphing into recipes we know and adore. Now, this last item in our Valentine’s Day itinerary might not fall strictly under “budget travel”, but it sure pays off in the long run. We’re sure you’ve had some delicious fare here. Why not take them home? Learn how to make Singapore’s signature dishes with Ruqxana at Cookery Magic! A former mechanical engineer, Ruqxana has been teaching Singaporeans, travellers and expats how to recreate Singapore’s unique flavours at home since 2001.
There is no better way to celebrate romance than having a good meal together made from scratch! Besides, these recipes can be brought home to impress your SO’s family too. Book your class today!
Class schedule: http://cookerymagic.com/events/
Address: 117 Fidelio Street, Singapore 458492
Nearest MRT: Kembangan; take bus 42 and alight 3 stops later
Telephone: +65 9665 6831
We hope you’ve enjoyed learning about the history of Valentine’s Day and our selection of meaningful activities to engage in with your date while in Singapore. While Valentine’s Day is a great way to celebrate romantic love, we hope that respect and gratitude between lovers are not just a one-off. Stay safe and travel hard!