Yesterday was the feast of the Epiphany, the celebration of the three wise men bringing baby Jesus gifts in Bethlehem. Monday therefore was the eve of the Epiphany. In Italy this is a much celebrated evening. It marks the legend of the arrival of an old but friendly witch, Befana. She brings small gifts and candy for the Children’s stockings.
ANSA Arts & Culture has a post on the celebration in different Italian cities. It talks about the boat parades in Venice, the longest stockings in Milan and children’s acivities in Rome. Befana arrives at night riding her broomstick. If the children were good they get the candy and presents if bad they get a lump of coal or dark chocolate. The dark chocolate in Italy is so good, it is worth being bad to get it!
Some of this legend comes to us in our Christmas stockings and the lump of coal that Santa may leave if you are bad. If you are in Italy during the Epiphany, seek out a town celebrating La Befana and join in.
George & Jo Anne