Lifestyle - January 9, 2023

Befana’s story, everything you need to know

Befana is a very popular figure of Italian tradition related to the feast of Epiphany that we celebrate every January 6.

How did the figure of the Befana come about?

Epiphany, as we know, is a well-known Christian holiday, linked to the manifestation of Jesus as the Son of God to mankind, precisely his first “epiphany,” which occurred when he was visited by the Magi. In fact, the very word “epiphany” is derived from the Greek word “epiphanìa,” meaning “manifestation.”

According to this Christian tradition, the three Magi (Melchior, Gaspar, and Balthasar) were three wise men from the East who, guided by a star to Bethlehem, would reach Jesus. They brought with them precious gifts such as frankincense, gold and myrrh, which they offered to the child as a sign of worship.

The legend of the Befana tells of an old woman who lived in the vicinity of Jesus’ house. When the Magi passed in front of her house, after asking about the place to come, the hag invited them to come in and have something to eat. However, she refused to join them on their journey, believing that it was the birth of just another child.

The next night, the Befana was awakened by a dream in which an angel showed her Jesus and asked her to join the Magi in worshipping him. So the old woman realized and ran to find the three wise men, but she arrived too late and could not find them. From then on, the Befana decided to go to children’s homes every year on January 6 to bring them gifts and try to find Jesus.

Especially in Italy, the Befana has become an extremely popular figure and children eagerly await her arrival on the night of January 5, hoping to receive gifts and sweets. Known especially in Rome and some regions of central Italy, the Befana is an important figure in the city’s folkloric events, such as the “Befana Parade” held every year on January 6, in which hundreds of participants parade through the streets of the city wearing costumes and masks inspired by the old lady. In addition, during the Christmas season, some of Rome’s squares and streets host themed markets dedicated to the Befana, where you can buy handicrafts, sweets and themed gifts.

In conclusion, the Befana is a very important figure in Italian culture and tradition and is a way to celebrate Christmas in a fun and engaging way for everyone. Befana is also a symbol of a holiday that celebrates love and solidarity.


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