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Epiphany in Tuscany

Epiphany in Tuscany
Epiphany in Tuscany

January, 6 is the day of Epiphany. Since 1985 Italy has claimed Epiphany the official holiday and like many Catholics in Western Europe Italians spend this day at home with their families.

On the one hand Epiphany is a solemn and religious holiday and on the other – it’s the day of magic and joy. The main character of the fairy tale is a witch Befana with big teeth, hooked nose, dressed in long cloak, pointed hat and holed stockings. Broom is the traditional transport which delivers her to any roof she likes. Kind and friendly character of Befana is concealed by her unattractive appearance.

The witch watches the Italian kids’ behavior throughout the year. When Epiphany comes Befana visits every single house to praise the kids according to their merits. Kind and obedient children get some chocolate and capricious kids get nothing but small pieces of coal.

Befana has taken such complex responsibilities long time ago. Once she met the Tree Wise Men and asked them to take her to Jesus to present him the gifts. The Tree Wise Men refused to take her and proposed to present gifts to all children. Since then Befana “works” in Italy for the good of all children.


Date: 02/01/2009

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