38 – La Befana – 6 January

A true Italian tradition is for children to hang up their stockings by the fireplace or in the kitchen on the eve of the Epiphany, the 6th of  January.  On this night it is a kindly old lady, known as La Befana, who is said to bring the children presents. 

Could this be the witch in question ???

Could this be the witch in question ???

Legend has it that this magical witch was busy sweeping her floor when the Three Wise Men knocked on her door and asked her to accompany them to Bethlehem. She said she was far too busy with her chores.  Next some shepherds called by and asked her to go with them to pay their respect to the newborn son of God.  Again she declined. Later she witnessed a wondrous bright star in the night sky, and she decided that perhaps she should go to find the baby after all.  So she gathered up some toys and set off to try and catch up with the Kings and Shepherds.  She searched and searched in vain to find them or the birthplace of Jesus. 

It is said that each Christmas she still goes looking for baby Jesus, flying on her broomstick, wandering from door to door, but still she is unable to find him.  Instead La Befana the “Good Witch” leaves little gifts for all the children she finds.  Children are told that if they have been good they will find goodies in their stockings, but if they have been naughty they might only receive pieces of coal.

Some of her goulish friends ???

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2 thoughts on “38 – La Befana – 6 January

  1. Buon giorno a tutti!

    Yes, Ziggy and I have been getting the automated email updates on your blog – which is very nice to read as they are posted. I was just looking at Nonnalou’s photo gallery – she has an eye for photography – many would make great Christmas cards! I too have photos of the market/olive stands in Agrigento – beautiful olives. I WAS going to pick a favorite photo, but then when I reached #27 favorite I realized it was a futile quest. Anyhow, La Befana – my goodness! The last I had heard of her was when I was about 11 or something like that – I had this BEAUTIFUL Christmas book from my mother – Christmas customs around the world – picture book with text – La Befana was one of the stories – I was intrigued! So that is a nice story/memory to read. Weather here has considerably warmed – well, 30s – but it has been NO sun, just dismal and grey as can be. Snow again Saturday and next Tuesday they say. The other day I was eating a piece of toast, waiting for my 2nd slice to toast – engrossed doing something when I finally realized my 2nd slice hadn’t emerged…….I turned around and looked at the toaster only to see large flames shooting out the top – the bread had gotten stuck inside. Never a dull moment here! love lora & ziggy

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