The Feast of the Epiphany is celebrated January 6 with a public holiday in Italy. The tradition of La Befana is a big part of Italian Christmas celebration with commemorates the 12th day of Christmas. The traditional Christmas holiday season lasts through Epiphany in Italy.
According to the Italian legend, La Befana who is a with like woman who wears a black shawl and rides on a broom, refused to join the Wise Men on their journey to see the baby Jesus. Later, she regrets her decision and she tries to find baby Jesus. She brings gifts to the Child but never finds him. Instead, she leaves gifts for other children.
Many towns and cities in Italy orginize festivities. Every January 5th, Epiphany Eve, children leave out their put up stockings for the Befana to fill. According to legend, every year Befana flies around the world on a broomstick and comes down chimneys to deliver presents and candy to children who have been good during the year. For those who were naughty, la Befana leaves lumps of coal.
Some shops in Italy sell carbone that actually looks like a piece of coal.
The arrival of la Befana is celebrated with traditional foods such as panettone, sweet coal and Befana cake with a large dried bean inside. Whoever finds the bean in the cake is king or queen for the day.
Piazza Navona in Rome is the site of a popular market each year between Christmas and the Epiphany where candies and toys are on sale.
There is a Befana celebration also in St. Peter’s Square.
Befana is children’s favorite day but honestly it is also one of my favorite day. I love festive spirit and adore to see things associated with Befana in supermarkets and stores.
Have you ever spent La Befana in Rome? Let me know it below