06 January 2015

La Befana

Today is the day of la Befana. La Befana is an old woman who visits Italian children on the eve of the epiphany. When my mother was a child, they didn't receive presents from Babbo Natale (Father Christmas), rather, they waited until the feast of the epiphany for a visit from la Befana. She would bring a toy to the good children, but watch out! If you were a naughty child, you would receive a lump of coal!

These days Babbo Natale comes to the Italian kids at Christmas. But the Befana is still celebrated throughout Italy.

Ten years ago, I was in Verona at this time of the year. There was a huge straw Befana being built in one of the main streets. It was enormous, and very awesome!


  1. Wow! She looks a bit scary. I can imagine being scolded as a kid and believing she might bring me coal. It's great learning about other cultures and I love the insight into Italian heritage that you bring us Francesca.

  2. How fun that they made a huge Befana in the middle of the city! I was in Florence during the feast of the Befana five years ago and I remember buying a big piece of 'coal' at a stall at the markets. It was made of sugar and aniseed :)


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