Are you done celebrating?
Have you celebrated Christmas? Have you kissed someone under the mistletoe and wished your loved ones all the best for the New Year? Have you opened your presents and recovered from the disappointment of not getting what you wished for? Is Christmas 2015 already forgotten? Well, things are still in full swing over here. We’re still celebrating!
Christmas season is not over yet, here in Italy.
Schools are still closed and Christmas trees haven’t been taken down yet. Our Christmas season officially ends tomorrow, January 6th. Tomorrow is the Epifania (the Epiphany), a religious feast that celebrates the visit of the Magi, the Three Kings, to the Christ child. But here in Italy, it is also known as the giorno della Befana (day of the Befana).
The Befana is the old lady who delivers gifts on the night before Epiphany. She is usually pictured as being very ugly, with a massive nose and huge glasses, dressed in a long gown and a shawl. She flies in the sky on her broomstick, carrying a big bag full of presents for little kids and she is usually quite dirty as she goes down the chimney to deliver her gifts.
The Befana is basically some kind of lovely and nice witch.
Kids usually hang their stockings on January 5th, sometimes they leave a glass of milk and some cookies, and get their presents on Epiphany’s day. The Befana usually brings candies, chocolate and little sweets, while she leaves coal if the kids have been bad. This is why you can also find sweet coal candy in bakeries in the first days of the year.
The day is a public holiday and it is basically a day to chill out, relax and take down all Christmas decorations. With the Befana gone, all Christmas celebrations are finally over. We also have a saying for that, which goes: l’Epifania tutte le feste porta via! (Epiphany takes all feasts with her).
Do you have something similar in your country? Let me know, I am curious!
If you are interested in learning more about Italian culture and lifestyle, I’d suggest you jump on my digital Vespa and join Be Italian For A Month, your 30-day virtual journey to Italy.
You will also learn some Italian words, you’ll receive some typical Italian recipes – ready to be cooked and enjoyed, you’ll get to tour around Italy, and learn about Italian traditions, proverbs, stereotypes, you name it. Plus, some cute surprises along the way!