La Befana...who is she?
She is a very old lady traveling around the world on a broom. She brings gifts or black coal...
Goodbye to the holiday season
Have you ever heard the saying: "Epiphany carries away all festivities"? It's an Italian way to say goodbye to the holiday season. January 6th is an amazing day because the Befana will come to our house and kind of a sad day. After all, the day after kids go back to school, grownups go back to work, and after two weeks of celebration, life goes back to normal.
Who is she? It's a long story…
Befana is an old lady with a big red nose and slight hunch. You always will see her (if you're lucky enough) dressed in an old jacket of colorful patches. For many, she is like Santa Claus, but she is not. On the night of January 5th, she comes into our houses like Babbo Natale, but she doesn't always have beautiful gifts for kids; she is not shy to bring pieces of coal for kids that didn't behave properly during the year. Moreover, she doesn't have the reindeers to fly all night from one town to another. She uses a magic broom.
Candies or black coal
This popular Italian tradition is very ancient; its origin was dated in the 13th century. The children wait for her as they do for Santa, even if the gifts are smaller. They will leave out their stockings, and even their shoes and the Befana will arrive at night, and climbing down the chimneys will leave some candies, chocolates, small toys, or black coal.
How the tradition started
Let's see what the tradition says: Epiphany commemorates the 12th day of Christmas. On this day, the three Wise Men arrived where Baby Jesus was, to give him the gifts we all know. La Befana didn't want to join them on their journey to see Baby Jesus. Very soon, she started feeling sorry about her decision, and she tried to bring Jesus a gift, but she was never able to find him. So she left presents to other kids.
Be a Befana for a night!
It's a fairytale for kids, but also adults love this tradition, which stays very strong in Italy. You will see many different stockings in every store during this time, full of candies and different sizes or colors. Everyone has to have a "calza", the stocking, at home. It soon became a big business, like San Valentine Day, for example. If you don't want to miss the tradition, but you want to play originally, you can leave our amazing Magnifico gift box under the chimney, a combination of different authentic Italian food, from pasta to rice, to extra virgin olive oil. For example, if you didn't take the occasion for Christmas to give a present to a friend or a family member, you can wait until January 6th. Our suggestion is the "Chef Box,": which is perfect for someone who is just starting to cook. The box contains spaghetti and mezzi rigatoni pasta, organic basil, and tomato sauce. There is also the delicious Ligurian basil pesto. Take the chance and become a Befana for a day… ops, sorry: for a night of course...before the sun rises and you have to go back to work!
- Donatella Mulvoni