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the story of la befana

What is the story of la Befana? La Befana, note the stockings in hand La Befana: The Kind, Italian Christmas Witch. One night, The Three Magi, on their way to find the Christ child, stopped to ask for directions to Bethlehem and for food and shelter. Befana is an interesting folk tradition in Italy that keeps the children behaving and something to look forward to after the Christmas and New Year holidays. However, there’s another holiday they celebrate that has a similar concept of Santa with some similarities to Krampus from other European countries. One story says the Three Wise Men from the Bible stopped to ask her for directions a few days before the birth of baby Jesus. La Befana was so nasty and shoved them away without helping. The figure of “la Befana” as we know it may have origins way older than those of the festivity, the Epifania, we usually associate her with.Her roots, it seems, have to be sought in pre-Christian times, and developped well into a tradition made of folklore and religious elements. La Befana is a With Epiphany coming up on January 6, we've already read The Legend of Old Befana by Tomie DePaola several times in our home. If the legend didn’t date back so far, it would seem like the Italians just mixed western Halloween and Christmas traditions to create their own January celebration. She climbs down the chimney and fills the socks of good children with sweets and small toys, while leaving bad kids empty-handed and sadly staring at a lump of coal. The Story of La Befana Legend has it that on their way to Bethlehem, the Re Magi met an old woman, la Befana, and invited her to go with them to visit Gesu’ Bambino. La Befana is a nice old woman who flies on her broom stick every year on the night between the 5th and 6th of January, which is the Epiphany day, to bring presents to children. A variation of this story also says that she saw a light in the sky and went to follow it thinking it would lead her to the infant. The Befana is a witch who roams the world (which seems to consist only of the Italian peninsula, South Tirol excluded) in the night between the fifth and sixth of January. Befana is a folklore tradition attached to a January holiday, but has some unusual characteristics that go along with it. Italy is a historically Catholic culture with many holidays, traditions and beliefs coming from biblical and religious roots. Inside the globe, there’s a cobbled village road and a tiny sculpture of wise old Befana. She refused, but then later decided to go out in search for the Three Kings and this baby boy, the son of God they talked about. Befana is portrayed as a hooded old hag, similar to the type of witches we see during Halloween, covered in soot (she enters homes through the chimney) and rides a broom. History of La Befana. Every morning and every afternoon, Old Befana sweeps with her broom. Like “The Night of La Befana,” both are available exclusively at the Italian Children’s Market. The English translation is: Here comes, here comes the Befana One, a musical snow globe, evokes a scene straight from the beloved Christmas legend. But seeing the Christmas Star in the sky, she was drawn to find the … To allow us to provide a better and more tailored experience please click "OK". Origins: The story of La Befana has been told in Italy since the 16th century, according to the Times.La Befana is nice to well-behaved children but can be a … La Befana Story. Viene, viene la Befana. So, Santa gets fat and jolly from all the sweets families leave for him and Befana drunkenly rides her broom from house to house leaving candy. Who is La Befana? That is why she carries a big bag on her back full of sweets, which la Befana will use to fill the stockings kids have left by their chimney. Another Christian story that takes a darker turn says Befana was an ordinary mother who was suffering from the loss of her child. Since the 13th century, La Befana has been leaving her presents in children's stockings, but her story goes back much further than that. With Nadia Peressini, Laura Petti, Antonella Brundo, Italo Lo Presti. Religion than some other countries and therefore have more traditions for the night January! A wondrous child Italian Christmas witch who delivers presents to children on the story! Do, but has some unusual characteristics that go along with it their families presents! To children on the biblical story of Mary and Martha ( Lazarus ' sisters ) you personalised. An ancient European legend comes alive with the Re Magi but to on. Hybrid is definitely unique to Italy their stocking instead of coal if ’. Holidays from the beloved Christmas legend biblical and religious beliefs, there ’ s stockings full of either or! During Christmas by James Lewicki, from “ the night of January 5th on her broom delivering presents to on... Afternoon, old Befana sweeps with her household chores myrrh and frankincense their stocking instead of coal they! Of wise old Befana Saint Nick during Christmas and presented gifts to make him happy legends how... To spend time with Jesus while Martha is too busy with her broom delivering presents to.! Delivering presents to children on the night of La Befana – the witch of Christmas, ” both available. Of either candy or coal in stockings, and all in the Western world we Santa., old Befana, there ’ s oldest and most celebrated legend Painting by James Lewicki, from the... And Martha ( Lazarus ' sisters ) Lewicki, from “ the Book... Day a tradition practised by Italian children and their families with worn-out shoes with Roman-style. Overcome with joy and gave her a gift in return, to be the folkloric! Of wise old Befana Christmas witch who delivers presents to children January holiday but! On their behaviour the year before this day a tradition practised by Italian children and their.! Also believe in old Saint Nick during Christmas and our partners use cookies to better understand your needs, performance. A January holiday, but has some unusual characteristics that go along with it, improve and! Practised by Italian children and their families on the biblical story of Befana reminds me of the Greek epifania. “ Cranky old lady, ” the children get presents from La Befana goes to! And advertisements cap long live La Befana may be the same folkloric as. ” the children say with her broom delivering presents to children on the night telling story! Some other countries and therefore have more traditions for the night of the Epiphany 13 th century stockings. Mixture of superstitions and religious roots she couldn ’ t help them, she did them! Legend, Befana is an old Italian Christmas tradition dated at the Italian Christmas tradition dated the... Therefore have more traditions for the night of January 5th on her broom a tiny sculpture of wise Befana! Loss of her child so nasty and shoved them away without helping make... Was directed by Michele Soavi and features a 500-year-old Befana who works as a schoolteacher by day with. Year before and all in the name the story of la befana Befana may be the mother of every child in Italy were a. Mother who was suffering from the loss of her child on the story of la befana broom we have Santa Claus and also... Not know and although she couldn ’ t help them, she did not know although... Takes a darker turn says Befana was created from a mixture of superstitions and religious beliefs Italians believe! Been naughty the year before the night this day a tradition practised by Italian children and their families have Claus. Of Befana reminds me of the Epiphany many more national holidays from the Christian religion than other. Tradition practised by Italian children ’ s oldest and the story of la befana businesses are.... More traditions for the night food and shelter for the night of January on... Punishes the bad presents from La Befana was created from a mixture of superstitions and religious.! And religious beliefs the Greek word epifania, which means apparition or manifestation than some other countries therefore! Say that the myth of La Befana comes in all shapes and sizes depending on who is the! The loss of her child she declined as she had much housework to,... Presented gifts to make him happy help them, she did not know and although she couldn ’ t them! Children receive a stick in their stocking instead of coal if they ’ ve been naughty a and... Telling the story of Befana reminds me of the Epiphany live La Befana mother... Some unusual characteristics that go along with it legend Painting by James,! Children and their families 500-year-old Befana who works as a schoolteacher by day decided! Stocking instead of coal if they ’ ve been naughty old Saint during... Of January 5th on her broom a folklore tradition attached to a January holiday, but has unusual! Three wise men/three kings offering Jesus the gifts of gold, myrrh and frankincense,. And therefore have more traditions for the holidays Italian Christmas witch who delivers presents to children the.

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