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Happy Befana! An ancient Italian tradition celebrated today…

befana italy burn

Today is the Feast of the Epiphany (January 6) and that’s the Befana, above, the witch that brings either gifts or “lumps of coal” to Italian children on the Eve of the Epiphany. It’s kind of like St. Nick in the U.S.

In Italy, there’s an old tradition of burning the Befana in the piazza on the day of the Epiphany. Some believe that it represents the “cleaning out” of the previous year and the welcoming of the new.

No one knows for certain, the name Befana is thought by some to come from the Italian word for Epiphany (epifania).

The photo above was taken today by a friend of the restaurant in Padua, Italy. She will be burned later today!

Read more about the tradition in the Wikipedia entry for Befana.

Buona Befana! Happy Befana day!

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