[beˈfana] feminine noun. 1. ( festività) national holiday (Jan 6, feast of the Epiphany)
What does Befana mean in English?
In Italian folklore, Befana (pronounced [beˈfaːna]) is an old woman who delivers gifts to children throughout Italy on Epiphany Eve (the night of January 5) in a similar way to St. Nicholas or Santa Claus. A popular belief is that her name derives from the Feast of Epiphany (Italian: Festa dell’Epifania).
Is La Befana a witch?
In Italian folklore, La Befana is a witch who brings good children treats on the morning of the Epiphany, January 6.
What countries celebrate La Befana?
The modern day Befana is now celebrated throughout Italy. 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.
Who created La Befana?
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. Most sources say that the myth of La Befana goes back to the 13th century. The name La Befana derives from the word “epifania”.
How is Befana celebrated today?
The arrival of la Befana is celebrated with traditional Italian foods such as panettone and marks the end of the long and festive holiday season in Italy. In honor of the Three Wise Men, Italians go to church and enjoy spending the day with family.
Why do they burn La Befana?
The feast of this fairy-tale old lady, so much beloved and feared by Italian children, takes origin from the “old lady” which was burned in the squares to celebrate the end of the year, a symbol of time cycles always ending and beginning again.
Why is La Befana important?
The Epiphany feast, known as La Befana, is an important part of the Christmas festivities in Italy. … La Befana is believed to be searching for baby Jesus, hence why she bears gifts for children. Many cities and towns in Italy organize festivities and parades to celebrate Epiphany on January 6.
What does La Befana look like?
Most modern representations of Befana — seen in storybooks and as popular dolls — depict her as an elderly woman wrapped in a dark shawl, wearing a kerchief on her head, and carrying or riding a broom. According to a popular song about Befana, she is dressed “in the Roman custom” (col vestito alla romana).
Does La Befana fly?
La Befana Festivals
La Befana is a witch who rides through the sky on her broomstick to deliver gifts on the night before Epiphany, the religious day that commemorates the arrival of the 3 Kings bearing gifts at the nativity. … So she flies around each year looking for places to bring gifts.
What is Christmas called in Italy?
Origin of the name
The term “Natale” derives from the Latin natalis and the Greetings formulas in Italian are “Buon Natale” (Merry Christmas) and “Felice Natale” (Happy Christmas).
What do they call Santa in Italy?
Italian children call Santa Claus ‘Babbo Natale’. He is becoming more popular in Italy for gift giving on Christmas Day but La Befana, the old woman who delivers gifts on Epiphany on 6th January, is still more common.
How is January 6 celebrated in Italy?
On January 6th, Italians celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany with a national public holiday. Epiphany marks the end of the Christmas period and commemorates the presentation of the infant Jesus to the Magi, or three wise men.
Where does La Befana live?
La Befana lived alone in a house in the hills of Italy, spending her days cooking and cleaning.
What is Ferragosto Italy?
Ferragosto is a public holiday celebrated on 15 August in all of Italy. … By metonymy, it is also the summer vacation period around mid-August, which may be a long weekend (ponte di ferragosto) or most of August.
What does La Befana wear?
La Befana is an old woman dressed in long skirts and woolen shawls, often ugly with a wart on her nose, flying on a broomstick just like witches do, bringing gifts to the children the night before January 6th.