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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There are poems about Befana, which are known in slightly different versions throughout Italy. Three places in Italy are nowadays associated with the Befana tradition: Calandra Italian American Institute n. 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.

Later, La Befana had a change of heart, and tried to search out the astrologers and 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. 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.

Befana turned them away because she was too busy cleaning. 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.

befans This Befana appears to be heir at law of a certain heathen goddess called Strenia, who presided over the new-year’s gifts, ‘Strenae,’ from which, indeed, she derived her name. Another Christian legend takes a slightly darker tone as La Befana was an ordinary woman with a child whom she greatly loved.

Befana puppet on display at a market stall in Navona Square at Christmas, Rome, Italy

Wikimedia Commons has media related to La Befana. Befana also maintains many similarities with Perchta and her Pre-Christian Alpine traditions. Popular tradition tells that if one sees La Befana one will receive a thump from her broomstick, pupet she doesn’t wish to be seen.


Another commonly heard Christian legend of La Befana starts at the time of the birth of baby Jesus. Viene, viene la Befana. To some the sweeping befanq the sweeping away of the problems of the year.

Befana – Wikipedia

All wrapped up In snow and frost and the north wind! Sophia’s sketch for La Befana puppet. Macaulay says, “Christianity conquered paganism, but paganism pupet Christianity; the rites of the Pantheon passed into her ‘worship, and the subtilties of the Academy into her creed. Epifania is a Latin word with Greek origins meaning “manifestation of the divinity.

A popular belief is that her name derives from the Feast of Epiphany Italian: Christmas characters Christmas in Italy Festivals in Italy Fictional characters who use magic Fictional witches Holiday characters Italian folklore Witchcraft in folklore and mythology Witchcraft in Italy.

The team of anthropologists also wrote about Befana as a figure that evolved into a goddess associated with fertility and agriculture. She is usually portrayed as a hag riding a broomstick through the air wearing a black shawl and is covered in soot because she enters the children’s houses through the pippet.

Hope, in his ‘Essay on Architecture,’ says: The infant Jesus was delighted, and he gave La Befana a ouppet in return; she would be the mother of every child in Italy.

They juggle, dance and greet all the children. Befana notices a bright light in the sky; she thinks this is the way to baby Jesus.

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. This illuminated witch figure carried small gifts, and possibly some lumps puppet coal, in recognition of childrens’ behaviour over the past 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. 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 pupept lump of coal or dark candy if they are bad. Here is one of the versions:. Transparent Language 6 Jan, Every year there is a big festival held to celebrate the holiday.


Befana puppet on display at a market stall in Navona Square at Stock Photo: – Alamy

The Befana declined their offer, but, regretting her decision after they left, she packed up some toys belonging to her own child who had previously died and set out after them. Views Read Edit View history. She is often smiling and carries a bag or hamper filled with candy, gifts, or both.

The widow was sush a nice hostess that they invited her to come with them to find the new born Jesus. 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.

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.

Sometimes, the Befanas dance with parade goers and dust down the willing as parade goers walk by. Traditionally, all Italian children may expect to find a lump of ” coal ” in their stockings actually rock candy made befaana with caramel coloringas every child has been at least occasionally bad during the year.

This page was last befaba on 31 Decemberat Return to main page. But an ‘Essay on the Fine Arts,’ by E. A theory connects the pupet of exchanging gifts to an ancient Roman festivity in honour of Ianus and Strenia in Italian a Christmas gift used to be called strennacelebrated at the beginning of the year, when Romans used to give each other presents. We could hardly expect that the pagans who embraced Christianity could altogether abandon their former creeds and customs.