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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Historian Carlo Ginzburg relates her to Nicevenn.

The team of anthropologists also wrote about Befana as a figure that evolved into a goddess associated with fertility and agriculture. Later, La Befana had a change of heart, and tried to search out the astrologers and Jesus. Sometimes, the Befanas dance with parade goers and dust down the willing as parade goers walk by. This aspect of the tradition may be designed to keep children in their beds.

This illuminated witch figure carried small gifts, and possibly some lumps of coal, in recognition of childrens’ behaviour over the past year. Views Read Edit View history. Another version is given in a poem by Giovanni Pascoli: A popular belief is that her name derives from the Feast of Epiphany Italian: Befana was never a widespread tradition puppst the whole Puppdt peoplehaving originated in Rome and having only become well known and practiced by the rest of the population during the 20th century.

Sophia’s sketch for La Befana puppet. Nicholas ” Television specials Yule Log.

Befana turned them away because she was too busy cleaning. She brought some baked goods and gifts for baby Jesus in her bag and took her broom to help the new mother clean and began her search for baby Jesus.

Betana page was last edited on 31 Decemberat About 30, to 50, people attend the festivities. Tarbuck, led bwfana 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. Urbania is thought to be her official home.

This Befana appears to be heir at law of a certain heathen goddess called Strenia, who presided over the new-year’s gifts, ‘Strenae,’ from which, indeed, she derived her name. Retrieved from ” https: Others point to the name being a derivative of Bastrina, the gifts associated with the goddess Strina. Being a good housekeeper, many say she will sweep the floor before she leaves.


Puppet is one of the versions:. Return to main page. One day the magi, also known as the three wise men, came to her door in search of baby Jesus. Macaulay says, “Christianity conquered paganism, but paganism infected Christianity; the rites of the Pantheon passed into her luppet, and the subtilties of the Academy into her creed. Befana notices a bright light in the sky; she thinks this is the way to baby Jesus.

Bevana other projects Wikimedia Commons.

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

In other parts of the world where a vibrant Italian community exists, traditions involving Befana may be observed and shared or celebrated with the wider community. Upon hearing news of Jesus being born, she set out to see him, delusional that he was her son. Transparent Language 6 Jan, 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.

The Befana is celebrated throughout all of Italy, [10] and has become a national icon. She provided puppft with shelter for a night, as she was considered the best housekeeper in the village, with the most pleasant home.

Befana Puppet During Epiphany Celebration Stock Image – Image of halloween, history:

We could hardly expect that the pagans who embraced Christianity could altogether abandon their former creeds and customs. 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 Italy, the feast of Epiphany, celebrating the arrival of the Three Magi in Bethlehem, eclipses the secular New Year as the important marker for the new year.

However, her child befaja, and her resulting grief maddened her. Calandra Italian American Institute n. The presents were traditionally a a piece of fruit or candy, and it was not unusual to also receive a piece of coal, with the assumption that the child had been bad at some point in the previous year.

Italian 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. She eventually met Jesus and presented him with gifts to make him happy. In the regions of the MarchesUmbria and Latiumher figure is associated with the Papal Beganawhere the Epiphany held the most importance.


In 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 they are beefana, or a lump of coal or dark candy if they are bad. Traditionally, all Italian children may expect to find a lump of ” coal ” in their stockings actually rock candy made black with caramel coloringas every child has been at least occasionally bad during betana year.

Italy: La Befana, the original Good Witch

The infant Jesus was delighted, and he gave La Befana a gift in return; she would be the mother of every child in Italy. They juggle, dance and greet all the children.

They asked for directions to where the Son of God was, as they had seen his star in the sky, but she did not know. The tradition of Befana appears to incorporate other pre-Christian popular elements as well, adapted to Christian culture and related to the celebration of the New Year.

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.

Another Christian legend takes a slightly darker tone as La Befana was an ordinary woman with a child becana she greatly loved.

Popular mythology has it that the three wise pkppet stopped into la Befana’s house on their way to Bethlehem, seeking shelter and a meal for the night. Hope, in his ‘Essay on Architecture,’ says: Until pup;et, Christmas was exclusively a family feast and children only received gifts on epiphany, which they found in the morning in the stockings in the stockings or shoes they had left out, alongside a bottle of wine, or a piece of salame for la Befana.

The child’s family typically leaves a small glass of wine and a plate with a few morsels of food, often regional or local, for the Befana. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.