Tag Archives: holidays

Holidays’ tradition: Italian Epifania

You should know the Italian holidays’ tradition if you want to travel to Italy at the very beginning of January. After celebrating Christmas, Saint Stephen (on 26th December) patron of Italy, and New Year’s Eve there is one more important event. Especially for Kids. It is something more curious. For us, the Christmas holidays finish on 6th January, with Befana, an old lady.

Maybe it is not only an Italian holiday’s tradition but here it is like a second Santa Claus for kids. Someone, joking, define Befana as the wife of Santa. Anyway, this imaginary person comes from the folklore. It is a bit sad also because this character represents the last day of festivity.

Holidays’ tradition: the Befana

In origin, Befana was part of the holiday’s tradition in Rome and it became well known by all Italians in the 20th century. We believe that the name of this character is just the translation (mispronunciation) of the Greek word Epifania, that it means appearance.

The Roman holiday’s tradition was concerning a gift exchange made at the beginning of January. It was a festivity in honor of Ianus and Strenia. We call ‘strenna’ a Christmas gift. Anyway, the kids expect some presents.

How Befana looks like in holidays’ tradition?

The holidays’ tradition sees the Befana as an old woman shriveled by the ailments of age and cold, with few teeth. Her face wrinkled and sometimes, but not always, she has a very prominent nose to emphasize her old age and the little beauty due to her age. The old aspect derives from a symbolic representation of the old year. Once it is ended, it can be burned. To burn puppets is a tradition also in the North of Europe.

To shelter adequately, the Befana wears long, lysed and jotted patches. She often wears an apron. She also uses heavy anti-cold socks and comfortable shoes. But she doesn’t use boots much more suited to the witches of fairy tales. On the shoulders, sometimes hunched, she always has a heavy and colored wool shawl and not a fluttering cape. A true Befana uses only a handkerchief of heavy cloth (the pezzóla) or a woolly knit scarecrow knotted under the chin. She has a broom, often used to lean or fly briefly. Sometimes she can also use a stick instead of a broomstick. In the imaginary, the Befana rides the broom.

What does the Befana do?

The character has her own holidays’ tradition style. She has no sack of gifts, but she brings her gifts or her charcoal in jute sacks unmade and siphon. This takes the form of huge socks, or in a wicker basket. It depends on the territoriality and the tradition of the place where it is celebrated.

As the legend of the holidays’ tradition says, the Befana delivers sweets to good children or coal and onion to naughty children. Coal – or even ash – from the ancient ritual symbol of bonfires was initially inserted into socks or shoes along with sweets. This in remembrance of the seasonal renewal, but also of burned puppets. In the Catholic moral view of the following centuries, Befana was putting only the coal and the onions into socks and shoes as punishment. Only children who had behaved badly during the previous year got these gifts.

Will you receive sweets or coal?

Italian culture

Before to visit Italy it is good to know something about the holiday‘s tradition of the country. Especially if you have the chance to live them going around in the right period. I have prepared more posts about culture, curiosities, and information about Italy. You can visit the section of my blog. So you will find something useful and also some ideas to plan your Italian tour. I add often new articles. All of them from my direct experience.

To get all the updates I invite you to subscribe to my newsletter. Weekly I will send you news and extra contents. Then you can also to follow me on my social pages and be informed about my trips. And if you enjoyed this post, share it!

Now I let you organize the trip to Italy. I am sure you will like to spend your holidays in my country. You can use free air miles to reserve your ticket and find a house sitter who will take care of your house while you are away.

Feel free to ask for some information or tips for your trip. And share your impressions after the trip. Comments below and contact form are at your disposal. I will be happy to read your notes and answer.

Calendar 2019: a gift for you

My dear followers and readers,

this is the Calendar 2019 for you. I planned to post some new articles these days and I am working to do it. Meanwhile, since Christmas is coming, I want to give you my small gift to thank you all! It is almost the first birthday of this blog and if I am here after all these months it is because of you. You follow me, like and comment on my posts, so I have a reason to continue to write.

Now you are thinking “ok, it’s time to leave him, otherwise, he will never stop”… hahaha, I know that you are doing it, so with my gift, I am trying to corrupt you with my Calendar 2019. I am joking, don’t worry. I like to read your feedback and this wants to be really only a “thank you” for your support.

Calendar 2019: what

It is easy, you just need to click on “MY ANASA Calendar 2019” and download it. It is a pdf file and you can save it on your computer or print it out. The Calendar 2019 is made in an international model so you can find all the days of next year without holidays written. That’s why I dedicated it to all of you, also to whom is not going to celebrate Christmas on 25th December and to whom don’t celebrate it.

MY ANASA Calendar 2019

You find also one of my pictures. I have chosen it because for me on the chair each of us can seat. It is the position from where to see what will happen next year. We don’t have only to seat there but also to act. In about one week it will start a new year and this Calendar 2019 is my first wish to you all for 12 months rich of satisfaction. We will have one more week to exchange wishes so I will be back to you all for it.

I did it on Freepik.