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phantasmagoria

Befana, the Italian Witch who Delivers Gifts

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I can't believe that I just learned about Befana last night, and even after doing a search on here, there was only one mention, and no elaboration! So, apparently, there is a Italian tradition similar to Santa Klaus, but she delivers on Epiphany Eve. The Magi came to see if she could help search for Baby Jesus, but she declined for too much housework, then regretted it and set off herself. She did not find him, so still goes out every year giving to children either nice gifts or bad ones, depending on the child. In Italy there are still festivals to this day that gather dozens of thousands of people! 

47% of Italian households hang stockings for Befana! (https://www.officeholidays.com/holidays/italy/la-befana)

Wikipedia has some good information, and she is all over the internet besides... these poems I lifted from that page:

La Befana vien di notte
Con le scarpe tutte rotte
Col vestito alla romana
Viva, Viva La Befana!

The English translation is:

The Befana comes by night
With her shoes all tattered and torn
She comes dressed in the Roman way
Long live the Befana!

Another version is given in a poem by Giovanni Pascoli:[13]

Viene, viene la Befana
Vien dai monti a notte fonda
Come è stanca! la circonda 
Neve e gelo e tramontana!
Viene, viene la Befana

The English translation is:

Here comes, here comes the Befana
She comes from the mountains in the deep of the night
Look how tired she is! All wrapped up
In snow and frost and the north wind! 
[14] 
Here comes, here comes the Befana!

Screen Shot 2021-01-16 at 5.44.52 PM.jpg

Screen Shot 2021-01-16 at 5.45.02 PM.jpg

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