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Who is the Befana Christmas witch?

Find out what you deserve from the Befana: sweets or coal?

According to the Italian tradition, the Befana is an old woman who brings presents to every child during the night of January 5th. She comes down from the chimney and fills socks with candies. Very often, children are scared by the Befana because she looks like a witch riding her broom and they’re afraid because if they have been naughty during the past year she will bring them coal instead of sweets. Truth is this is just the way parents try to convince their kids to be obedient and not to misbehave.

Befana in doll version
Befana in doll version - Credit: Simone Zucchelli

If the Befana is a children’s festivity, the Epiphany is its Catholic counterpart. As a matter of fact, Epiphany is the day in which the Three Kings brought presents to baby Jesus (from Koine Greek (ἡ) ἐπιφάνεια, epiphaneia "appearance", "manifestation") and it is also the last day of Christmas celebrations, in which Italian families take down decorations from the Xmas tree and the nativity scene.

If you are here in Tuscany and you have kids, Epiphany will surely turn into an unforgettable moment for them! 

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