|Befana dolls at a holiday market in Bassano del Grappa|
La Befana visits the homes of Italian children on the eve of the Epiphany. As the story goes, the Befana, an old woman, was outside sweeping when the Magi (three wise men) passed by on their way to find the Christ child. She was asked to join their entourage, but passed up the offer, as she was busy with house hold chores. Later she regretted her decision and set out on her own to search for the child. She vowed to visit every house and leave sweets for all the good children as she searched for the Christ child.
|Mama made Befana stockings|
Our first year in Italy I didn't know about the Befana, but my 3 year old who was in Italian pre-school knew all about her. So when January 6 came around and the Befana did not visit we had a bit of trouble on our hands. I had to explain that as new arrivals in Italy I was suppose to register my children with the Befana and I had neglected to do so. He bought it, but still remains a little skeptical, so now every year that she does arrive to fill stockings with candies the children are amazed. So on the morning of the 6th there were plenty shouts of joy, "the Befana DID come!"