Happy Befana "Epiphany", Three Kings Day!
"Befana" is a version of the Greek term "Epiphany". This is the celebration on January 6th celebrating the visit of the 3 Kings visit to Baby Jesus. According to the legend the three wise men on their journey were stopped by an old woman with a broom who asked them where they were going. They told her that they were following a star that would lead them to a newborn baby, and invited her to come along. But she replied that she was busy sweeping and cleaning and did not go. She soon regretted saying no, as she realized who they were going to see and her regret was so great that she continues to wander about Italy and at the Epiphany (January 6, when the Wise Men finally found the Child Jesus), begins rewarding good children and disappointing those who were bad.
This was the feast that the children used to wait for throughout the year, in the times when Babbo Natale (created in Coca Cola colors, the fat and joyous symbol of wealth imported from America, where he was derived from the figure of St Nicholas, who in Southern Italy used to bring gifts to children in past centuries) was unknown in Italy. The bony, ragged old lady was much nearer in spirit to the poverty of Jesus, and was the only gift-giver for children. The gifts she delivered were reminders of the gifts that on that same night the Magi following the star had offered to the Divine Child, born in a poor manger in Bethlehem. I am from the South of Italy and we celebrate Babbo Natale - Santa Claus - Old St. Nick!
**** My Befana gifts came last night from Natalea of Kandeland Blog. She had a giveaway of 4 beautiful digital sheets created by her great friend Sandy of Sandy's Creations (sold on Sandy's Etsy. I won them!! What a great Befana gift. I am in Natalea's Valentine tag book swap and I can't wait to see everyone's wonderful creations.