Befana is a traditional character in Italian folklore associated with the celebration of Epiphany, which takes place on January 6th. The name “Befana” is believed to be derived from the Italian word “epifania.” The character is often depicted as an old woman, sometimes portrayed as a witch, who visits children on the night of January 5th, leaving small gifts and sweets for the good children and coal or dark candy for the naughty ones.
According to the legend, Befana was an old woman who, while sweeping her house, was visited by the three Wise Men (Magi) on their way to find the baby Jesus. They asked her for directions, and she declined their invitation to join them. Later, she had a change of heart and set out to find the baby, but she was unable to locate him. As a result, every year on the night of Epiphany, she travels on her broomstick, leaving gifts for children in the hope that one of them might be the baby Jesus.
Befana is a beloved figure in Italian culture, and the Epiphany is celebrated with various customs and traditions across the country. In some regions, there are parades, festivals, and special events to mark the occasion. Children often hang stockings or put out shoes for Befana to fill with treats, and families come together to share in the festivities.
The Befana comes by night
With her shoes all tattered and torn
She comes dressed in the Roman way
Long live the Befana!
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!
Here comes, here comes the Befana!