What Will She Bring?


The stockings are hung by the chimney with care in hopes that St. Nicholas   La Befana soon will be there!  Yes, that’s right!  Tonight she is coming and will be leaving treats to all the GOOD boys and girls.  If you’ve been BAD, watch out – you will most likely find some coal in your stocking instead!

The legend of La Befana is an old Italian tradition.  She is an ugly old lady who flies around Italy on her broomstick with broken shoes.  But despite the fact that she sounds like a mean old witch, she is actually a kind old lady who brings treats to all the children of Italy.  She is on a search for the new Baby Jesus, and since she doesn’t know which child it is, she leaves treats for all the children! 

Visiting Italy a few years ago, we were lucky to partake in some of the local traditions surrounding this day – both in celebration of Epiphany and of La Befana.  In the town square, a huge bonfire was set up with a stuffed old woman sitting at the top.  The plan was that as the fire burned the old woman on top would topple over.  Depending on which way she toppled would set the tone for the year to come!  That year, she didn’t fall because the snow made it so the bonfire didn’t burn.  Hmm…it made for an interesting year!

January 6th, or La Befana, has also been deemed “The Woman’s Holiday”.  Men all over Italy say “auguri” to all the women – but what they mean by it is always a mystery.  Are they saying it because they think that a woman looks like the Old La Befana, or are they saying it as a joke, or are they simply acknowledging the woman’s day?  Well, take it in stride and simply enjoy the traditions of the day!

11 responses »

  1. Ciao Barbara! I’ve actually heard of kids being afraid of La Befana – but it was a fun celebration to learn about and watch the kids get interviewed about her last year…*sigh* love me some Italy.

  2. Oggi mio padre ha telefonato a sua sorella per sentire come stava e se aveva iniziato bene l’anno; in mezzo alla telefonata mia zia, però, gli ha detto sbrigativamente di non azzardarsi a farle gli auguri 😀
    Mio padre ha avvisato sua sorella di non avere fatto gli auguri neppure a mia madre.
    Può essere pericoloso fare gli auguri a una donna per la Befana 🙂

    • Hi Jodina, Thanks for visiting my blog and your comment. I have not seen the film Amarcord – I should really rent it from NetFlix one of these days. I think I’m the only one who hasn’t seen it! La Befana is really a lovable character – despite that she doesn’t look very pleasant – but she is such a sweetie giving goodies to all the little boys and girls of Italy. I am amazed at the similarities between her and Santa Claus!!! When I was in Italy a few years ago during this time, there were stockings for sale at the Auto Grill with a La Befana doll on them and filled with goodies! I brought some home for my daughters…since they had been good 🙂 Hope to see you again soon!

  3. Pingback: Tis the Night…. « Il Mio Tesoro

  4. Pingback: La Befana Vien’di Notte….Trullalla! | Il Mio Tesoro

  5. Pingback: La Befana Vien’di Notte….Trullalla! | Il Mio Tesoro

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