Celebrating La Befana

Growing up, we celebrated the feast of the Epiphany with a special meal and treats. While my brothers and I attached more significance to Christmas Day, my mother considered January 6th to be the Italian Christmas. She would regale us with tales of la Befana, the friendly witch who delivered gifts to good children and lumps of coal to the bad ones.

While I’ve heard many variations of this tale, I prefer my mother’s version.

The Magi stopped at la Befana’s house on their way to visit Baby Jesus. The gracious hostess treated them to a meal and offered them shelter for the night. She also gave them directions. Touched by her hospitality, the three kings invited her to accompany them on their journey, but she declined. She had too much housework. After they left, she changed her mind and decided to join them. She packed up some toys for the newborn child and set off on the journey. She never caught up to them. Disappointed but practical, she decided to share her bounty of toys. To this day, she delivers her gifts to Italian children on the night before the Epiphany.

Does anyone else celebrate the Epiphany?


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11 Comments Add yours

  1. Peggy Jaeger says:

    Joanne – I celebrated La Befana, too, as a kid ! It’s so cool that we’re a thousand miles apart and in different countries ( even tho they’re attached!) and we share traditional stuff like this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good to see you here, Peggy! Our Italian roots run deep! 🙂


  2. vicki says:

    Hi, Joanne! Didn’t celebrate Epiphany as holiday, rather observed on Sunday at church. I love learning about different cultures, especially the Italian ones.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for dropping by, Vicki 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Joanne, Happy Epiphany to you! I hadn’t heard of La Befana, but I love the idea that she had a practical nature and decided to give her gifts to the children 🙂


  4. Hi Jacquie, I think women of all nationalities appreciate La Befana’s practical nature. I think she took things a bit too far when she turned down the invitation because of housework. Only a woman would use that excuse. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Frankie Bow says:

    Reblogged this on Island Confidential and commented:
    La Befana- an Italian Epiphany tradition


    1. Thanks for reblogging, Frankie 🙂


    1. Sounds interesting…thanks for the link! 🙂


      1. Thank you 🙂 Yes it was amazing celebration – the best Three King’s Day I have ever seen 😀 If you like travels I invite to follow my blog 😀


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