La storia della Befana / The story of La Befana

As part of Italian folklore “La Befana” is a traditional Christmas legendary character associated with the celebration of Epiphany on 6th January after the 12 days of Christmas. She is an old lady who brings gifts to children across Italy in much the same way as Santa Claus.
Read on to find out more about this legend (in Italian and English).

La Befana si festeggia nel giorno dell’Epifania, che di solito chiude le vacanze natalizie.
(La Befana is celebrated on Epiphany, which usually closes the Christmas holidays.)

Il termine “Befana” deriva dal greco “Epifania” che significa “apparizione, manifestazione”.
(The word “Befana” comes from the greek “Epiphany” which means “appearance, manifestation.”)

Avvenne nella notte tra il 5 ed il 6 gennaio che i Re Magi fecero visita a Gesù per offrirgli oro, incenso e mirra.
(It happened on the night between the 5th and 6th of January that the Magi (the three wise men / kings) visited the new born Jesus to offer him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.)

La Befana è una vecchia brutta e gobba, con il naso adunco e il mento aguzzo, vestita di stracci e coperta di fuliggine, perchè entra nelle case attraverso la cappa del camino.
(La Befana is an old ugly and hunchbacked lady, with a hooked nose and pointed chin, dressed in rags and covered in soot, because she comes down the chimney.)

Infatti la notte tra il 5 e il 6 gennaio, mentre tutti dormono infila doni e dolcetti nelle calze dei bambini appese al caminetto.
(In fact, the night between the 5th and 6th of January, while everyone is asleep she places gifts and sweets in the stockings of children hanging from the fireplace.)

Ai bambini buoni lascia caramelle e dolcetti, a quelli cattivi lascia pezzi di carbone.
(She leaves lovely treats for all the good children and pieces of coal to all the naughty ones.)

Anche la Befana apparve nei cieli, a cavallo della sua scopa, ad elargire doni o carbone, a seconda che i bambini siano stati buoni o cattivi.
(The story goes that La Befana appeared in the skies, riding on her broomstick, to bestow gifts or coal, depending on whether the children have been good or bad.)

Find out more about this traditional Italian Christmas story here, La Befana.
















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