That is why she carries a big bag on her back full of sweets, which la Befana will use to fill the stockings kids have left by their chimney. Sound familiar so far? La Befana is a With Epiphany coming up on January 6, we've already read The Legend of Old Befana by Tomie DePaola several times in our home. So, Santa gets fat and jolly from all the sweets families leave for him and Befana drunkenly rides her broom from house to house leaving candy. Inside the globe, there’s a cobbled village road and a tiny sculpture of wise old Befana. La Befana Story. La Befana is a nice old woman who flies on her broom stick every year on the night between the 5th and 6th of January, which is the Epiphany day, to bring presents to children. She climbs down the chimney and fills the socks of good children with sweets and small toys, while leaving bad kids empty-handed and sadly staring at a lump of coal. The legendary story of the Befana, known as La Vecchia, is about the old woman Befana who was asked by the Three Kings to come along with them in search to find the Child King, born in Bethlehem. The English translation is: Here comes, here comes the Befana With Nadia Peressini, Laura Petti, Antonella Brundo, Italo Lo Presti. They celebrate many more national holidays from the Christian religion than some other countries and therefore have more traditions for the holidays. A variation of this story also says that she saw a light in the sky and went to follow it thinking it would lead her to the infant. The Feast of the Epiphany is celebrated January 6 with a national holiday in Italy, and the tradition of La Befana are a big part of Italian Christmas celebrations. La Befana was stopped by the Three Wise Men and asked her to lead them to the manger and stable where baby Jesus was born. In the Western world we have Santa Claus and Italians also believe in Old Saint Nick during Christmas. Isabella has recently created two additional Befana items. There are a few different legends of how Befana started. The modern day Befana is now celebrated throughout Italy. Inspired by the many Italian cakes baked on Epiphany Eve as offerings to “La Befana”, this fruity golden cake (with a dash of spirit) is a Witches Cake. La Befana comes in all shapes and sizes depending on who is telling the story. La Befana In Italy: history. As it was a very cold night the old woman decided against travelling with the Re Magi but to follow on instead at daylight. la circonda Neve e gelo e tramontana! The Legend of La Befana In Italian folklore, La Befana is a witch who brings good children treats on the morning of the Epiphany, January 6. The Story of La Befana (an Epiphany legend) One day three men dressed in strange clothes knocked on the door of a little old woman. History of La Befana. One, a musical snow globe, evokes a scene straight from the beloved Christmas legend. She fills the children’s stockings full of either candy or coal, depending on their behaviour the year before. “Cranky old lady,” the children say. But if you … While encompassing early Christian and Roman traditions and celebrations, many of which we still celebrate today such as Christmas gift giving and New Year’s celebrations, some anthropologists have also tied some aspects of tradition of Befana to some pre-Christian elements of the Neolithic period and some Celtic aspects as well. The Story of La Befana Legend has it that on their way to Bethlehem, the Re Magi met an old woman, la Befana, and invited her to go with them to visit Gesu’ Bambino. According to legend, Befana is an old witch who flies through the night of January 5th on her broom delivering presents to children. The name La Befana derives from the word "epifania". While a guest in thier home, Mary chose to spend time with Jesus while Martha is too busy with her household chores. The Kings stopped to talked with her and asked if she might be interested in joining them on their journey to see the new baby. However, there’s another holiday they celebrate that has a similar concept of Santa with some similarities to Krampus from other European countries. It is celebrated on the 6 th of January, the day of the Epiphany, a Christian feast day that celebrates the revelation of God in his Son as human in Jesus Christ. She eventually met Jesus and presented gifts to make him happy. One story says the Three Wise Men from the Bible stopped to ask her for directions a few days before the birth of baby Jesus. Another version is given in a poem by Giovanni Pascoli: Viene, viene la Befana Vien dai monti a notte fonda Come è stanca! Objective: The students will be able to: 1. La Befana was so nasty and shoved them away without helping. The Italian-language Christmas fantasy comedy film The Legend of the Christmas Witch (Italian: La Befana vien di notte), was released on December 27, 2018. Another Christian story that takes a darker turn says Befana was an ordinary mother who was suffering from the loss of her child. The legend of Befana began thousands of years ago and remains to this day a tradition practised by Italian children and their families. In some poor parts of Italy, the children receive a stick in their stocking instead of coal if they’ve been naughty. Who is La Befana? She carries a bag full of candy and is said to be the best house keeper in all the land due to her habit of sweeping the houses of the children she visits before she leaves. On January 5th throughout Italy, excited children prepare for a late-night visit from La Befana by hanging up socks to be filled with small delights. In Italy the job of delivering nice gifts to good children and cenere e carbone (ashes and coal) to naughty ones belonged to La Befana. Every morning and every afternoon, Old Befana sweeps with her broom. The Italian-Spanish co-production was directed by Michele Soavi and features a 500-year-old Befana who works as a schoolteacher by day. The children of the village dismiss the legend as an old wives tale, but as the slaughters continue, their doubts begin to wane. It was too late, so she left on her own search looking for them and baby Jesus, leaving candy or fruit for the good children and coal, onions or garlic for naughty children. Epiphany is a public holiday in Italy, so schools and most businesses are closed. La Befana is known all over throughout history as a wise and magical woman who arrives flying on a broom or sometimes even on a donkey bringing gifts to the children, leaving figs, dates, nuts, and candy on the eve of the Epiphany. She did not know and although she couldn’t help them, she did offer them food and shelter for the night. Italy’s oldest and most celebrated legend Painting by James Lewicki, from “The Golden Book of Christmas Tales” 1956 . Along the way she brings gifts and chocolate to any children she decides are good, and to the bad children she leaves pieces of coal or garlic. Some regions where the religious holiday of the Epiphany is held in a higher regard, such as Umbria, Le Marche, and Latium, have big festivals and markets, and many people like to dress in costume as Befana. It all started in the time of King Herod on the eve of the Epiphany La Befana, note the stockings in hand La Befana: The Kind, Italian Christmas Witch. Befana, a grandmotherly woman who resembles a kindly witch, brings gifts to good little children, depositing them in stockings hung above the hearth, then tidying up a bit before taking her leave. She refused, but then later decided to go out in search for the Three Kings and this baby boy, the son of God they talked about. To be gracious and thankful hosts, families leave her a glass of wine and a bit of their traditional local food to refuel her for the rest of her journey. An ancient European Legend comes alive with the story of La Befana-a mythical character who rewards the good children...and punishes the bad. The Story of La Befana The Italian Christmas Witch Grade Level: Kindergarten and First Grade Subjects: Social Studies / Language Arts (Folklore) Categories: Arts and Sciences / History and Society Standards Please see page 4 of the lesson plan for complete New Jersey Student Learning Standards alignment. People celebrate with a feast and also the children get presents from La Befana. House cleaning witches on brooms, candy or coal in stockings, and all in the name of the biblical holiday of the Epiphany. In this beloved classic picture book, Tomie dePaola retells and illustrates an Italian Christmas folk tale, breathing warmth and humanity into the character of the lonely Old Befana and her endless search for the Christ Child. To allow us to provide a better and more tailored experience please click "OK". The figure of “la Befana” as we know it may have origins way older than those of the festivity, the Epifania, we usually associate her with.Her roots, it seems, have to be sought in pre-Christian times, and developped well into a tradition made of folklore and religious elements. But seeing the Christmas Star in the sky, she was drawn to find the … The legend of La Befana – The Witch of Christmas. Befana is said to be an old woman and many refer to her as a witch, who visits all the children in Italy on the eve of the Epiphany, celebrated on January 6. Since the 13th century, La Befana has been leaving her presents in children's stockings, but her story goes back much further than that. She carries a bag full of candy and is said to be the best house keeper in all the land due to her habit of sweeping the houses of the children she visits before she leaves. Directed by Sean Cisterna. Befana is portrayed as a hooded old hag, similar to the type of witches we see during Halloween, covered in soot (she enters homes through the chimney) and rides a broom. Like “The Night of La Befana,” both are available exclusively at the Italian Children’s Market. The Befana is a witch who roams the world (which seems to consist only of the Italian peninsula, South Tirol excluded) in the night between the fifth and sixth of January. In Italy, children eagerly wait for a visit from another figure known in … As the story goes, one day, the three Magi left their country bearing special gifts of gold, incense and myrrh for the new-born Jesus Christ. This legend of La Befana was created from a mixture of superstitions and religious beliefs. What is the story of la Befana? Her name comes from befania, a corruption of the Greek word epifania, which means apparition or manifestation. La Befana may be the same folkloric figure as Berchta. The figure of Babbo Natale (Father Christmas) with a red hat and suit, white beard, bag full of presents and sleigh with reindeers, is famous all over the world. Again, much like the Russian Babuschka tale, the story goes that a few days after the birth of Jesus, La Befana was approached by the magi because she was the best housekeeper in her village; they asked her for directions but she did not … The figure of La Befana has been an Italian Christmas tradition, long before Babbo Natale (Santa Claus) made his way into the bel paese culture. She is the Italian Christmas witch who delivers presents to children on the Night of the Epiphany. Tradition has it that La Befana, an old woman of modest means, lived in a shack at the time of the birth of Jesus Christ. Befana is an interesting folk tradition in Italy that keeps the children behaving and something to look forward to after the Christmas and New Year holidays. The children are told that she will give them a swift thump from her broomstick if they try to see her when she arrives, but the tradition could just be to keep kids in their beds. Tradition has it that on the 5th of January the Three Kings ran into la befana while she was sweeping the floor and taking care of the housework. One night, The Three Magi, on their way to find the Christ child, stopped to ask for directions to Bethlehem and for food and shelter. glam theme by Restored 316, If you want to learn more about the festivities in Italy, you may also have a look at, Three Kings got to Jesus’s crib bearing gifts, « Where to stay in Rome with kids: best areas, hotels and apartments, One day in New York City with kids: family itinerary ». Traditions are part of what make each culture unique, and this Christmas and Halloween hybrid is definitely unique to Italy. She had such a pleasant and tidy home and the Three Wise Men were so pleased, they invited her to accompany them on their journey to find baby Jesus. We and our partners use cookies to better understand your needs, improve performance and provide you with personalised content and advertisements. Befana is portrayed as a hooded old hag, similar to the type of witches we see during Halloween, covered in soot (she enters homes through the chimney) and rides a broom. Every child is naughty at least some of the time, so it has become normal that each child gets a little lump of “coal”, rock candy made with black caramel colouring in their stocking among the other candy. They explained they were seeking a newborn child--a wondrous child. Italy is a historically Catholic culture with many holidays, traditions and beliefs coming from biblical and religious roots. The story goes that La Befana, the witch, is still searching for the baby and visits the houses of children, looking for the special child. This is my story of La Befana. It is an annual tradition for many families to wait in the piazza at midnight and pretend to spy Befana up in a high window, fooling the kids. In many ways, the story of Befana reminds me of the biblical story of Mary and Martha (Lazarus' sisters). The Befana comes at night with worn-out shoes with a Roman-style cap long live La Befana! If the legend didn’t date back so far, it would seem like the Italians just mixed western Halloween and Christmas traditions to create their own January celebration. She went crazy with grief and when she heard about the birth of Jesus, she went to find him in the delusion that he was her son. Some places celebrate Befana more than others such as Piazza Novana in Rome, where you can find some candies and mini coal candy on sale during the Christmas and Epiphany market where lore says she shows herself in a window at midnight, bringing a crowd to “see” Befana every year at midnight in early January. However, in the cities when she comes to hand out gifts (like the Santas in Stores), she usually rides on a donkey and has two baskets on each side. This holiday is based on the biblical story of the three wise men/three kings offering Jesus the gifts of gold, myrrh and frankincense. The stories about La Befana vary greatly from region to region, but Tomie DePaola's version comes closest to the one I learned as a child. La Befana Italy's traditional holiday celebration includes the tale of a witch known as La Befana who arrives on her broomstick during the night of January 5th with toys and sweets for the good children and lumps of coal for the bad ones. Most sources say that the myth of La Befana goes back to the 13th century. He was overcome with joy and gave her a gift in return, to be the mother of every child in Italy. She continues to look and even though she hasn’t found him, she still leaves gifts for all the children, because the goodness and innocence of Jesus can be found in every child. Befana is a folklore tradition attached to a January holiday, but has some unusual characteristics that go along with it. La Befana is an old Italian Christmas tradition dated at the 13 th century. 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