With Christmas coming up very soon, I decided to write this blog about Befana. Befana is the italian tradition of Santa Claus, and her tradition stands out among all nationalities. First of all, she’s a women. She is an old witch that delivers presents to children on the the eve of the feast of the Epiphany ( the night of January 5th). She can be scene wearing a black shawl and riding a broomstick. She also carries a bag filled with presents and baked goods. The presents and baked good are for children throughout the world, including the newborn baby Jesus.
Her traditional story is that days before the 3 Wise Men visited the newborn Jesus Christ in a manager, they met Befana. Befana gave them a place to stay in a local village. The men asked Befana to join them on their journey to find Chirst, but she denied. After they left she had a change of heart, and went out searching for baby Jesus, but she couldn’t find Him. To this day she is still searching throughout centuries for baby Jesus, and on her journey she flies into chimneys leaving presents for good boys and girls and coal for the bad children.
Much like the American Santa Claus, Befana’s image and tradition is highly celebrated throughout Italy at Christmas time, and is even incorporated in Italian Christmas carols.