Sophia’s sketch for La Befana puppet. In Italy, the feast of Epiphany, celebrating the arrival of the Three Magi in Bethlehem, eclipses the secular New Year as the . Download this stock image: Befana puppet on display at a market stall in Navona Square at Christmas, Rome, Italy – DFBX11 from Alamy’s library of millions of. Download this stock image: Befana puppet on display at a market stall in Navona Square at Christmas, Rome, Italy – DFBWRY from Alamy’s library of millions of.

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In many poorer parts of Italy and in particular rural Sicily, a stick in a stocking was placed instead of coal.

Befana puppet on display at a market stall in Navona Square at Stock Photo: – Alamy

Three places in Italy are nowadays associated with the Befana tradition: Befana still searches today, after all these centuries. This aspect of the tradition may be designed to keep children in their beds. To some the sweeping meant the sweeping away of the problems of the year. Macaulay says, “Christianity conquered paganism, but paganism infected Christianity; the rites of the Pantheon passed into her ‘worship, and the subtilties of the Academy into her creed.

Befana notices a bright light in the sky; she thinks this is the way to baby Jesus. The Befana declined their offer, puplet, regretting her decision after they left, she packed up some toys belonging to her own child who had previously died and set out after them. Others point to the name being a derivative of Bastrina, the gifts associated with the goddess Strina.

This page was last edited on 31 Decemberat She is usually portrayed as a hag riding a broomstick through the air wearing a black shawl and is covered in soot pup;et she enters the children’s houses through the chimney. Later, La Befana had a befna of heart, and tried to search out the astrologers and Jesus. Befana turned them away because she was too busy cleaning. The Befana comes by night With her shoes all tattered and torn She comes dressed in the Roman way Long live the Befana!


Stephen’s Day Sol Invictus Yule. The Befana is celebrated throughout all of Italy, [10] and has become a national icon.

Viene, viene la Befana. Views Read Edit View history. Another commonly pupept Christian legend of La Befana starts at the time of the birth of baby Jesus. Befana was never a widespread tradition among the whole Italian peoplehaving originated in Rome and having only become well known and practiced by the rest of the population during the 20th century.

Urbania is thought to be her official home. Nicholas ” Television specials Yule Log.

Befana puppet on display at a market stall in Navona Square at Christmas, Rome, Italy

She searched and searched for Baby Jesus, but never found him. A theory connects the tradition of exchanging gifts to an ancient Roman festivity in honour of Ianus and Strenia in Italian a Christmas gift used to be called strennacelebrated at the beginning of the year, when Romans used to give each other presents. Until recently, Christmas was exclusively a family befaana and children only received gifts on epiphany, which they found in the morning in the stockings in the stockings or shoes they had left out, alongside a bottle of wine, or a piece of salame for la Befana.

There are poems about Befana, which are known in slightly different versions throughout Italy. Although she has puppeet unsuccessful in her search, she still leaves gifts for good young children because the Christ Child can be found in all children. She leaves all the good children toys and candy “caramelle” or fruit, while the bad children get coal “carbone”onions or garlic.

She provided them with shelter for a night, as she was considered the best housekeeper in the village, with the most pleasant home.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Italy: La Befana, the original Good Witch

Another Christian legend takes a slightly darker tone as La Befana was an ordinary woman with a child whom she greatly loved. Retrieved from ” https: She is often smiling and carries a bag or hamper filled with candy, gifts, or both.

Christian legend had it that Befana was approached by the biblical magialso known as the Three Wise Men or the three kings a few days before the birth of the Infant Jesus. The presents were traditionally a a piece of fruit or candy, and it was not unusual to also receive a piece of coal, with the assumption that the child had been bad at some point in the previous year.

This illuminated witch figure carried small gifts, and possibly some lumps of coal, in recognition of childrens’ behaviour over the past year. The singing hags gather in the street to give candy to children, to cackle and screech to accordion music, and to sing in every key imaginable as delighted parade participants join in the cacophony.

In popular folklore Befana visits all the children of Italy on the eve of the Feast of the Epiphany to fill their socks with candy and presents if they are good, or a lump of coal or dark candy if they are bad. Sometimes, the Befanas dance with parade goers and dust down the willing as parade goers walk by. But an ‘Essay on the Fine Arts,’ by E.