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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Popular tradition tells that if one sees La Befana one will receive a thump from her broomstick, as she doesn’t wish to be seen.

Later, La Befana had a change of heart, and tried to search out the astrologers and Jesus. 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. Wikimedia Commons has media related to La Befana.

Others point to the name being a derivative of Bastrina, the gifts associated with the goddess Strina. She eventually met Jesus and presented him with gifts to make him happy. The tradition of Befana appears to incorporate other pre-Christian popular elements as well, adapted to Christian culture and related to the celebration of the New Year. In many European countries the tradition still exists of burning a puppet of an old lady at the beginning of the New Year, called Giubiana in Northern Italy, with clear Celtic origins.

Sometimes, the Befanas dance with parade goers and dust down the willing as parade goers walk by. 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. There are poems about Befana, which are known in slightly different versions throughout Italy. She provided them with shelter for a night, as she was considered the best housekeeper in the village, with the most pleasant home.


Being a good housekeeper, many say she will sweep the floor before she leaves.

Befana puppet during epiphany celebration

Until recently, Christmas was exclusively a family feast 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.

Three places in Italy are nowadays associated with the Befana tradition: We could hardly expect that the pagans who embraced Christianity could altogether abandon their former creeds and customs. She never caught up with them, and to this year she deliveres her gifts to Italian children on the night before epiphany. About 30, to 50, people attend the festivities. The widow was sush a nice hostess that they invited her to come with them to find the new born Jesus.

Historian Carlo Ginzburg relates her to Nicevenn. 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.

She brought some baked goods and gifts for baby Jesus in her bag and took her broom to help the new mother clean and began her search for baby Jesus. Tarbuck, led me to believe that this custom is a relic of pagan worship, and that the word “Bastrina” refers to the offerings which used to be made to the goddess Strenia.

Traditionally, all Italian children may expect to find a lump of ” coal ” in their stockings actually rock candy made black with caramel coloringas every child has been at least occasionally bad during the year.

The magi invited her to join them on the journey to find the baby Jesus, but she declined, stating she was too busy with her housework. Upon hearing news of Jesus being born, she set out to see him, delusional that he was her son.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The infant Jesus was delighted, and he gave La Befana a gift in return; she would be the mother of every child in Italy. In Italy, the feast of Epiphany, celebrating the arrival of the Three Magi in Bethlehem, eclipses the secular New Year as the important marker for the new pupet.


As with all pupoet Italian fesivities, the rest of the day was spent feasting with the family. One day the magi, also known as the three wise men, came to her door in search of baby Jesus.

In other parts of the world where a vibrant Italian community exists, traditions involving Befana may be observed and shared or celebrated with the wider community. Transparent Language 6 Jan, Although she has been unsuccessful in her search, she still leaves gifts for good young children because the Christ Child can be found in all children. She is often smiling and carries a befanx or hamper filled with candy, gifts, or both.

Befana Puppet During Epiphany Celebration Stock Image – Image of halloween, history:

Here comes, here comes the Befana She comes from the mountains in the deep of the night Look how tired she is! 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. 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.

Hope, in his ‘Essay on Architecture,’ says: The child’s family typically leaves a small glass of wine and a plate with a few morsels of food, often regional or local, for the Befana. In many poorer parts of Italy and in particular rural Sicily, a stick in a stocking was placed instead of coal.

Hundreds of Befanas are present, swinging from the main tower. The old lady character should then represent the “old year” just passed, ready to be burned in order to give place to the new one.