This is for a holiday card I did last year.
La Befana is a character in the Italian folklore. The character may have originated in Rome, then spread as a tradition to peninsular Italy.
Her name derives from the festival of Epiphany, and she visits all the children of Italy on the eve of the 6th of January to fill their socks with candy if they have been good or a lump of coal if they have misbehaved. Being a good housekeeper, many say she will sweep the floor before she leaves. The child's family typically leaves a small glass of wine and a plate with a few morsels of food, often regional or local. I believe now that la Befana needs to get drunk to forget her miserable life, sweeping everybody’s floors and while dressing like crap. She is usually portrayed as an old lady riding a broomstick through the air (not a comfortable task) wearing a black shawl and is covered in soot (one more reason to get drunk) because she enters the childrens houses through the chimney. La Befana, unlike a witch though, she is often smiling (that good Chianti does wonders after few hundred glasses) and she has a bag or a hamper filled with candy or gifts.
I grew up as a child believing in this story and since I share the Peter Pan syndrome with you all, I like to give you this and thank you so much for reading this ridiculous post.
La Befana ©2007 Valerio Ventura