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 puppwt home. A theory connects the tradition of exchanging gifts to an ancient Roman festivity in honour of Ianus and Strenia in Italian a Christmas gift used to be called strennacelebrated at the beginning of the year, when Romans used to give each other presents.

The Legend of La Befana – Red Herring Puppets

In other projects Wikimedia Commons. This page was last edited on 31 Decemberat Befana also maintains many similarities with Perchta and her Pre-Christian Alpine traditions. Transparent Language 6 Jan, Befana still searches today, after all these centuries.

However, her child died, and her resulting grief maddened her. Women, men, and children dressed in La Befana costume and nose sing love songs to serenade the sun to beckon its return.

A popular belief is that her name derives from the Feast of Epiphany Italian: Befana notices befanq bright light in the sky; she thinks this is the way to baby Jesus. Popular tradition tells that if one sees La Befana one will receive a thump from her broomstick, as she doesn’t wish to be seen. Christmas characters Christmas in Italy Festivals in Italy Fictional characters who use magic Fictional witches Holiday characters Italian folklore Witchcraft in folklore and mythology Witchcraft in Italy.

In many poorer parts of Italy and in particular rural Sicily, a stick in a stocking was placed instead of coal. As with all other Italian fesivities, the rest of the day was spent feasting with ppupet family.

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Befana puppet during epiphany celebration

The old lady character should then represent the “old year” just passed, ready to be burned in order to give place puppst the new one. In the regions of the MarchesUmbria and Latiumher figure is associated with the Papal Stateswhere the Epiphany held the most importance.

Upon hearing news of Jesus being born, she set out to see him, delusional that he was her son. The Befana declined their offer, but, regretting her decision after they left, she packed up some toys belonging to her own child who had previously died and set out after them. Wikimedia Commons has media related to La Befana.

Befnaa anthropologists Claudia and Luigi Manciocco, in their book Una casa senza porte “A House without Doors” trace Befana’s origins back to Neolithic beliefs and practices. But an ‘Essay on the Fine Arts,’ by E. Another version is given in a poem by Giovanni Pascoli: She is often smiling and carries a bag or hamper filled with candy, gifts, or both.

Befana turned them away because she was too busy cleaning. The Befana comes by night With her shoes all tattered and torn She comes dressed in the Roman way Long live the Befana!

Historian Carlo Ginzburg relates her to Nicevenn.

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

She eventually met Jesus and presented him with befanw to make him happy. There are poems about Befana, which are known in slightly different versions throughout Italy. 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. The singing hags gather in the street to give candy to children, to cackle and screech to accordion music, and to sing in every key pu;pet as delighted parade participants join in the cacophony.

All wrapped up In snow and frost and the north wind! From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. They pupoet, dance and greet all the children. Although she has been unsuccessful in her search, she still leaves gifts for good young children because the Christ Child can be found in all children. Viene, viene la Befana. Every year there is a big festival held to celebrate the holiday.


Return to main page. 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. Beafna popular folklore Befana visits all the children of Italy on the eve of the Feast of the Epiphany to fill their socks with candy and presents if pu;pet are good, or a lump of coal or dark candy if they are bad.

The widow was sush a nice hostess that they invited her to come with them to find the new born Jesus. The presents were traditionally a a piece of fruit or candy, and it was not unusual to also receive a hefana of coal, with the assumption that the child had been bad at some point in the previous year. In Italy, the feast of Epiphany, puppeg the arrival of the Three Magi in Bethlehem, eclipses the secular New Year as the important marker for the new year.

The Befana is celebrated throughout all of Italy, [10] and has become a national pupprt. Views Read Edit View history. On the eve of the Epiphany, Befana comes to a house where there is a child and leaves a gift.

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.

One day the magi, also known as the three wise men, came to her door in search of baby Jesus. Another phppet heard Christian legend of La Befana starts at the time of the birth of baby Jesus.