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06. 01. 2025


All Day

Christmas witch La Befana

Christmas witch La Berfana, Italy, Christmas

The Christmas Witch la Befana

A magical Christmas custom in Italy

In Italy there is a unique and fascinating Christmas tradition that captures people’s hearts every year: La Befana. This particular character, a friendly Christmas witch, plays a central role in the festive events surrounding January 6, the day of Epiphany. The story of the Befana goes back deep into Italian culture and history and enchants young and old alike. In this article we will take a closer look at the events surrounding the Befana in Italy, from its fascinating history to the exact dates, venues, schedule and program of events.

The story of “La Befana

The story of the Befana is an integral part of the Italian Christmas tradition. The legend says that a long time ago, when the wise men from the East were on their way to Bethlehem, they knocked on the door of an old woman. This woman was the Befana, a witch known for her wisdom and good heart. The wise men asked them to accompany them on their journey and to see the newborn baby Jesus. The Befana, however, refused, as she was too busy keeping her home clean.

After the wise men had moved on, Befana regretted her decision and decided to follow them. She wrapped presents and went on her way. But she could never catch up with the wise men. Since then, the Befana flies in the night of the 5. on the January 6 on her broom from house to house to distribute gifts to children. She hopes to find the baby Jesus and make up for her mistake. The children of Italy put their shoes outside the door on the eve of Epiphany, hoping that the Befana will bring them gifts as she sleeps.

The exact date and venues

The Befana celebrations take place on January 6 and mark the end of the Christmas season in Italy. While the tradition is celebrated throughout Italy, there are some places where the events are particularly impressive.

One of the most famous centers for the celebrations around La Befana is Rome. In the Italian capital, the old town is transformed into a winter wonderland, and the streets are adorned with lights, decorations and festive stalls. The highlight of the day is the Befana parade, where a costumed performer flies through the streets on a broom and distributes gifts to the cheering children.

Another important venue is the city of Florence, where la Befana parade features historical costumes and magnificent parades. The children are excited to meet the Befana in person and receive her gifts.

The course of events

The celebrations around La Befana usually begin on the eve of January 6 with various activities in the towns and villages of Italy. In Rome, for example, people gather in St. Peter’s Square to attend the solemn Mass celebrated by Pope Francis. After Mass, there is often a spectacular fireworks display that lights up the sky above the city and adds to the festive atmosphere.

On the actual day of Epiphany, the children awaken with great anticipation. They rush to their shoes to see what surprises la Befana has left for them. The gifts can include candy, toys and small gifts for the children. It’s a magical moment that brings the family together and builds anticipation for the new year.

The event program

The Befana celebrations offer a variety of events and activities for the whole family. In many cities there are parades where Befana flies through the streets on her broom, throwing candies and small gifts to the children. These parades are often accompanied by music, dance and festive costumes that transform the streets into a colorful spectacle.

In some regions of Italy, such as Tuscany, there are also special folklore performances where the story of la Befana is told in a traditional way. These performances are a great opportunity to discover the cultural roots of the tradition and to deepen the meaning of the Befana for Italian culture.

Besides the public events, many families also organize private celebrations in honor of the Befana. Here grandparents, parents and children gather to eat together, tell stories about the Befana and exchange gifts. These intimate celebrations help strengthen family ties and emphasize the importance of compassion and generosity that the Befana represents.

Some cities in Italy also have Christmas markets selling handmade gifts, regional delicacies and festive decorations. These markets are a popular meeting place for locals and tourists who want to enjoy the festive atmosphere and purchase unique souvenirs.

In conclusion, La Befana celebrations in Italy are a fascinating and heartwarming tradition that keeps the magic of Christmas alive until January 6. The history of la Befana, its generous nature and festive events make this tradition special, touching the hearts of people all over Italy. Whether in Rome, Florence or other cities and villages of the country, the Befana celebrations are an opportunity to experience Italian culture and hospitality at its best. For families and visitors alike, the Befana celebrations are an unforgettable experience that celebrates the joy and wonder of the Christmas season in Italy.

Important note: Disclaimer – Italien.events is not the organizer of the events published here and therefore not responsible for program changes and cancellation of the event. The editorial team of Italien.events always tries to provide detailed and accurate information. However, it is possible that events are changed and they were not updated in a timely manner. Detailed information about the dates, times and programs can be obtained directly from the organizer. Please check the organizer’s website or social media for updates before your trip!

Photos: © Photos shutterstock.com

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