Thursday, January 5, 2017

An Italian celebration of Christmas.

Nowadays, not many are aware that Christmas does not end on December 25th, but it goes on for twelve nights! To say the truth we can say it lasts until Candlemass, the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus to the Temple at the end of Epiphany Season, we could say a continuation of Christmastide. Tomorrow the twelve days will end with the Adoration of the Child Jesus by the Magi, a very important continuation of the Nativity where the humble community of shepherds is joined by three kings bringing gifts to the holy child. 
In Italy, this feast or better, "Epiphany Eve" has always been just as important as Christmas culturally, and Italian children not only have to wait for Santa Claus or Father Christmas but also for a lovely elderly lady called "La Befana" (after "Epifania" = Epiphany).
The legend goes... the three kings were looking for shelter the night before visiting Our Lord to bring Him gifts, they arrived to a small village where the locals addressed them to the best place, the house of a caring granny that gave them a place to sleep and excellent food, they were so touched they invited her to join them... she denied the offer, but the following day she changed idea, and started looking for the kings and especially Jesus! In the attempt to bring gifts to Jesus, she gave candies and sweets to all children... she still does today! Filling long stockings with any kind of sweet, candy or chocolate delicacy, unless you have been naughty, in which case some coal (made of sugar) will be left for you, pink coal is an option too, if you haven't been that naughty! At least in Italy! Tonight let's wait for this lovely granny! Viva viva la Befana!

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