La Befana vien di notte con le scarpe tutte rotte….. every children in Italy can tell the following lines of this poem.
La Befana is one of those traditions that go through years and centuries without losing theirs power of making wonder.
On January 6th – if the previous evening you remember to put an empty sock on your chimney (or wherever you find a suitable spot) – you will find candies and small presents from the good witch.
The origins of the tradition are mixed, religious and pagans. One of the legends tells that la Befana lived on the road the three wise men took on their journey to Bethlehem. They approached la Befana’s house as she was busy working and asked her if she wanted to join them on their journey.
She turned down the offer but later, when she knew who was the baby, she gathered some gifts to bring and … she stopped at every house hoping finding Jesus and left there a gift, just in case!
Even nowadays, everybody in Italy loves la Befana. And, as an expat mum who raised her children abroad, I can tell that it’s a great satisfaction to receive some presents while all the other children around you are already busy with homework!!!