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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Urbania is thought to be her official home. Another version is given in a poem by Giovanni Pascoli: In other parts of the world beafna a vibrant Befanw community exists, traditions involving Befana may be observed and shared or celebrated with the wider community. Christian legend had it that Befana was approached by the biblical magialso known as the Three Wise Men or the three kings a few days before the birth of the Infant Jesus.

One day the magi, also known as the three wise men, came to her door in search of baby Jesus. 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. There are poems about Befana, which are known in slightly different versions throughout Italy. Popular mythology has it that the three wise men stopped into la Befana’s house bdfana their way to Bethlehem, seeking shelter and a meal for the night.

In other projects Wikimedia Commons. In Italy, the feast of Epiphany, celebrating the arrival of the Three Magi in Bethlehem, eclipses the secular New Year betana the important marker for the new year. On the eve of the Epiphany, Befana comes to a house where there is a child and leaves a gift.

She leaves all the good children toys and puuppet “caramelle” or fruit, while the bad children get coal “carbone”onions or garlic. Later, La Befana had a change of heart, and tried to search out the astrologers and Jesus.

We could hardly expect that the pagans who embraced Christianity could altogether abandon their former creeds and customs. In the regions of the MarchesUmbria and Latiumher figure is associated with the Papal Stateswhere the Epiphany held the most importance.


She searched and searched for Baby Jesus, but never found him. Hope, in his ‘Essay on Architecture,’ says: Historian Carlo Ginzburg relates her to Nicevenn. They juggle, dance and greet all the children. Nicholas ” Television specials Yule Log. Being a good housekeeper, many say she will befaja the floor before she leaves. A theory connects the tradition of exchanging gifts to an ancient Roman festivity in honour of Ianus and Strenia befsna Italian befan Christmas bfana used to be called strennacelebrated at the beginning of the year, when Romans used to give each other presents.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Befana also maintains many similarities with Perchta and her Pre-Christian Alpine traditions. 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.

This page was last edited on puppeh Decemberat However, her child died, and her resulting grief maddened her.

Befana Puppet During Epiphany Celebration Stock Image – Image of halloween, history:

Hundreds of Befanas are present, swinging from the main tower. Upon hearing news of Jesus being born, she set out to see him, delusional that he was her son.

They asked for directions to where the Son of God was, as they had seen his star in the sky, but she did not know. Another commonly heard Christian legend of La Befana starts at the time of the birth of baby Jesus. Transparent Language 6 Jan, Befana turned them away because she was too busy cleaning. Epifania is a Latin word with Greek origins meaning “manifestation of the divinity.

She provided them with shelter for a night, as she was considered the best housekeeper in the village, with the most pleasant home. 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. This illuminated witch figure carried small gifts, and possibly some lumps of coal, in recognition of childrens’ behaviour over the past year.

The tradition of Befana appears to incorporate other pre-Christian popular elements as well, adapted to Christian culture and related to the celebration of the New Year. The presents were traditionally a a piece of fruit or candy, and it was not unusual to also receive a piece of coal, with the assumption that the child had been bad at some point in the previous year. Sophia’s sketch for La Befana puppet. 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 chimney.


Return to main page. Sometimes, the Befanas dance with parade goers and dust down the willing as parade goers walk by. Befana was never a widespread tradition among the whole Italian peoplehaving originated in Rome and having only become well known and practiced by the rest of the population during the 20th century.

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

Befana still searches today, after all these centuries. Wikimedia Commons has media related to La Befana.

In many poorer parts of Italy and in particular rural Sicily, a stick in a stocking was placed instead of coal. She is often smiling and carries a bag or hamper filled with candy, gifts, or both.

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.

Until recently, Christmas was exclusively a family feast and children only received gifts on epiphany, which they found in the morning in the stockings in the stockings or shoes they had left out, alongside a bottle of wine, or a piece of salame for la Befana.

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.

Befana puppet during epiphany celebration

She never caught up with them, and to this year she deliveres her gifts to Italian children on the night before epiphany. That night she was not able to find them, so to this day, La Befana is searching for the little baby. Stephen’s Day Sol Invictus Yule. All wrapped up In snow and frost and the north befnaa This aspect of the tradition may be designed to keep children in their beds.