L’Epifania and La Befana

Viene, viene la Befana
Vien dai monti a notte fonda
Come è stanca! la circonda
Neve e gelo e tramontana!
Viene, viene la Befana

American children leave a stocking out for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve (December 23th) however here in Italy children leave a stocking out for an ugly old witch called la befana on the eve of the Epiphany.  The Epiphany is an important festival for Italians.  It is celebrated on January 6th and marks the end of the Christmas season/holidays as it’s the day when the Three Wise Men arrive to Jesus’ manger and present him with gifts.

I’ve written about the folklore regarding the Befana in the past.  Most kids, when asked, don’t exactly know what La Befana has to do with the Epiphany.  For them, it is more about the excitement of receiving  candies, small gifts and even money.

The supermarkets are filled with chocolate coins and pre-stuffed stockings filled with other candies and treats.  In fact, Kinder and Ferrero have a special limited edition Befana doll that comes equipped with a sack filled with your favourite Kinder treats.  Every year, they launch two different Befana dolls and some people have even begun starting collections.

Italians give each other a Befana (there are so many varieties) to hang up somewhere in their home.  It is believed to bring good fortune.  I’m not sure if it’s important where you hang it, I’ve heard different things from different people.  I’ve personally never had my own Befana until this year.  My cousins gave me one of the infamous Kinder Befana from the 2013 collection.

la befana

She is hanging up in my bedroom waiting to give me a 2013 filled with good fortune! Or at least that is my hope.  Regardless, she was given to me with love from my cousins, and for that she will always hold a special memory and for me that’s enough.

Happy Epiphany!

Leave a Reply