06 January 2016

La Befana

January 6th is the Feast of the Epiphany which commemorates the arrival of the Magi in Bethlehem.

An Italian tradition tells us that on the night before their arrival in Bethlehem, the Three Wise Men met an old woman, la Befana. She was invited to join them and travel overnight to be able to greet the Baby Jesus the next day. But la Befana did not wish to travel at night and instead went off the next morning with basket of presents. However when she arrived at the manger, it was empty.

To atone for her tardiness, on every Epiphany Eve la Befana travels on her magic broom to every home in Italy bringing candy to the nice children and coal, onions or garlic to the not so nice.

La Befana vien di notte
con le scarpe tutte rotte
col cappello alla romana
viva viva la Befana!

For more information see Befana  Viva la Befana and La Befana - Italian Christmas Tradition

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