Candy or Coal? Waiting for Befana.

Befana's stoching

This year, only coal!!! (Photo by Élder Fasolato)

Candy or coal? What will Befana bring you tonight? Ok, I Know, you claim that you behaved well, so be patient, certainly you will have sweets, candies or, who knows, some nice gifts. But, if you have been a naughty boy, wait and see, this year you’ll only have COAL! I’m sure that inside my stocking I’ll get many nice surprises… Hmmm! The charismatic old woman is always anxiously awaited by children in Italy. Riding on her flying broom, she crosses the sky during the early hours of January 6th carrying a basket full of sweets and candies. The Epiphany, party in which Befana brings gifts to children, closes all New Year parties, reason why Italians says that “L’Epifania tutte le feste si porta via”

The legend says that when the three Wise Men made their way to Bethlehem to bring gifts to Jesus, they had difficulties to find their way, so they asked an old woman for help. Being grateful for her help and kindness, they invited her to come with them. The old woman who was too busy cleaning the house, declined, but soon later she realized it was a mistake. So, Befana puts some gifts in a basket and left trying to reach the Wise Men. Despite following the same star as they did, she never arrived at the stable where Jesus was born. Therefore, always in the same day, she rides on her broom going around the world, entering houses and leaving gifts for children in the hope that one of them is Jesus.

Who is sure of having been nice in the past year will find sweets inside their stocking. The naughty ones do not! You will find only coal! But do not worry, next  year she will be back! For me, it’s better to sing along:

“Befana comes after night fall
with her shoes needing an overhaul.
She comes dressed “alla romana”
Long live Befana!”

What has Befana brought to you?

Leave me a comment.



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