La Befana

It’s almost Christmas and you know what that means,presents, I mean Jesus and being nice to one another. All the American children will be waiting (un)patiently for Santa Clause. In Italy they will be waiting for La Befana. The legend goes that La Befana was a normal person until her son died and then she lost it. Which seems entirely reasonable. When she heard about the birth of Jesus she set out to find him believing he was her son, so I wasn’t kidding when I said she lost it. She found Jesus and gave him presents and he told her she was hence forth the mother of all the children in Italy. Since then she has made habit of putting candy in the socks of all the good Italian children and the bad ones get coal. So she is not much different from old St. Nick there. Here we leave Santa cookies and milk. In Italy La Befana get wine and “the regional specialty”, so I guess Italians have better palates than we do. A final part of the La Befana tradition involves La Befana sweeping the floors of the homes she visits, it’s here way of sweeping away the years problems.


One thought on “La Befana

  1. judithgarcia says:

    Buona sera Emily,
    I love the Befana’s tradition and I particularly like how families go out to get the witch’s figurine, puppet or toy for their children. It is also said that she met the three Wise Men on their way to worship the new King and she initially did not believe the good news. Then she later repented and that’s why she is doing the trips to give presents, as a way to compensate for the gifts that she did not actually give to baby Jesus. Whatever it is, it is a lovely tradition and I like the reference to the wine and the regional specialties. She is a fortunate woman, 🙂

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