The Epiphany Feast in Italy

epiphany-1911052__340Having been unable to write for both Christmas and new year (Happy New Year guys!), I think I would like to write about the feast on this Friday.

This feast, or which is also called the Befana Day, comes on the 6th day of January. It’s a national holiday in Italy when offices are closed and when people celebrate.

In Italian legend, Befana is actually old woman who delivers gifts to children throughout the country on the night before Epiphany, on January 5.

This is similar to the tradition of Santa Claus, who also goes around on the night before Christmas to deliver presents.

Referred as the Christmas witch, Befana comes to houses to fill children’s socks with presents (like toys and books) or candies if they have been good kids. On the other hands, if they are not, lump of coal, onions, garlic and sometimes a stick in South Italy like Sicily, will be put instead of presents and delicious candies.

The myth is, Befana will also sweep house floor before leaving, which is considered as sweeping away problems. Usually, Italian family will prepare some food or drinks for her. How does she look like? Befana is often described as a hag with broomstick and she enters houses through chimney. She is also described carrying a bag with candies and gifts inside.

Befana is actually Greek word for Epiphany. The legend and tradition have started since thousands of years ago and it has been celebrated by Italian families and their children until the present days.

How Do Italians Celebrate the Day?

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Epiphany day is celebrated throughout Italy in various ways. It is a national holiday and during this moment, there are people who sell candies, toys and sugar charcoal. In addition, the celebration is also completed with traditional food, including Italian Christmas cake, panettone.

*Not only in Italy, I also heard that the tradition is also continued by Italian communities who live abroad.

In Italy, this day marks the end of the long holiday season (Christmas to New Year period). Most Italians use this day to stay and celebrate with their families and kids.

Not only, since offices are also closed and the day is also the beginning period of winter sales, many people also go shopping on this day.

So, what do you think guys, is the Epiphany Feast in Italy interesting enough? For a woman like me who lives here and sees the celebration every year, I really think it is 😉

 

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