The Italian Befana Ritual – January 6th

The Italian Befana Ritual – January 6th

Many people celebrate the Feast of Epiphany each year on January 6th. As I was growing up, my Italian Grandmother never considered Christmas to be over until we arrived at Epiphany which she called “Little Christmas.”

She would give small, traditional gifts on this day. Because she was actively Catholic, she would pray in that tradition. But I remember Italian candies, tangerines and nuts coming out on that day. Candles were lit to the names of little elemental being friends to be remembered.

Catholics see the Epiphany as the day that the Three Magi arrive to the baby Jesus and offer him gifts of frankincense, gold and myrrh. But in Italy, the celebration among the village folk is a celebration to and in honor of La Befana.