Befana Italian Holiday for kids

Have you been naughty or have you been nice? The Befana witch will know 😉 imagesBX3GPRV2

On the night of the 5th of January (Epiphany Eve) in Italian Folklore the Befana strega (witch) or old woman brings gifts to children here in Italy which are usually sweets and chocolate but if you have been bad she will leave you coal!

As holiday’s/traditions go i love this one! Its a little like Santa (Babbo Natale as hes called here in Italy) bringing you presents and knowing if you have been good or bad 🙂

The children here love Befana and alot of the Christmas Markets here in Italy sell a lot of sweets just for the day. Even in the shops now they will be selling sweets and treats just for Befana which is a big Holiday right after Christmas and a bank Holiday here. I have also seen mobiles you can buy of the witch to hang in your house and ornaments like you have for Santa.

The origins of Befana though are from a pagan festival for the Roman Goddess Strina who governs over the Newyears gifts, purification and wellbeing. She guarded children and Youth by giving health and strength.

Traditional offerings for this Goddess were burning Leaves and leaving out sweet breads with dates and figs.

Its strange how the Goddess who was Young and beautiful became the old woman or witch later on in the tradition as it changed into Befana. And its interesting to see that she has survived in some way still as part of Italian tradition and Holiday til this modern day, guardian of the children.

Next year Peanut will be more aware and we can introduce her to this tradition! as for this year Befana falls on a monday so its another day off and so a nice long weekend for the grown-ups.

Also the January sales have started here in Italy so its bargain hunting time for all of us 🙂 Although this year im after things for Peanut like Learning toys and maybe some clothes.

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