Befana, a grandmotherly woman who resembles a kindly witch, brings gifts to good little children, depositing them in stockings hung above the hearth, then tidying up a bit before taking her leave. They explained they were seeking a newborn child--a wondrous child. The legend of Befana began thousands of years ago and remains to this day a tradition practised by Italian children and their families. The Story of La Befana The Italian Christmas Witch Grade Level: Kindergarten and First Grade Subjects: Social Studies / Language Arts (Folklore) Categories: Arts and Sciences / History and Society Standards Please see page 4 of the lesson plan for complete New Jersey Student Learning Standards alignment. In this beloved classic picture book, Tomie dePaola retells and illustrates an Italian Christmas folk tale, breathing warmth and humanity into the character of the lonely Old Befana and her endless search for the Christ Child. He was overcome with joy and gave her a gift in return, to be the mother of every child in Italy. La Befana is a With Epiphany coming up on January 6, we've already read The Legend of Old Befana by Tomie DePaola several times in our home. She carries a bag full of candy and is said to be the best house keeper in all the land due to her habit of sweeping the houses of the children she visits before she leaves. She had such a pleasant and tidy home and the Three Wise Men were so pleased, they invited her to accompany them on their journey to find baby Jesus. Since the 13th century, La Befana has been leaving her presents in children's stockings, but her story goes back much further than that. Every morning and every afternoon, Old Befana sweeps with her broom. The Feast of the Epiphany is celebrated January 6 with a national holiday in Italy, and the tradition of La Befana are a big part of Italian Christmas celebrations. The Italian-language Christmas fantasy comedy film The Legend of the Christmas Witch (Italian: La Befana vien di notte), was released on December 27, 2018. One story says the Three Wise Men from the Bible stopped to ask her for directions a few days before the birth of baby Jesus. La Befana In Italy: history. La Befana, note the stockings in hand La Befana: The Kind, Italian Christmas Witch. La Befana is known all over throughout history as a wise and magical woman who arrives flying on a broom or sometimes even on a donkey bringing gifts to the children, leaving figs, dates, nuts, and candy on the eve of the Epiphany. She climbs down the chimney and fills the socks of good children with sweets and small toys, while leaving bad kids empty-handed and sadly staring at a lump of coal. History of La Befana. Inspired by the many Italian cakes baked on Epiphany Eve as offerings to “La Befana”, this fruity golden cake (with a dash of spirit) is a Witches Cake. La Befana comes in all shapes and sizes depending on who is telling the story. This holiday is based on the biblical story of the three wise men/three kings offering Jesus the gifts of gold, myrrh and frankincense. Befana is portrayed as a hooded old hag, similar to the type of witches we see during Halloween, covered in soot (she enters homes through the chimney) and rides a broom. glam theme by Restored 316, If you want to learn more about the festivities in Italy, you may also have a look at, Three Kings got to Jesus’s crib bearing gifts, « Where to stay in Rome with kids: best areas, hotels and apartments, One day in New York City with kids: family itinerary ». She did not know and although she couldn’t help them, she did offer them food and shelter for the night. La Befana is an old Italian Christmas tradition dated at the 13 th century. Italy is a historically Catholic culture with many holidays, traditions and beliefs coming from biblical and religious roots. According to legend, Befana is an old witch who flies through the night of January 5th on her broom delivering presents to children. la circonda Neve e gelo e tramontana! This is my story of La Befana. In Italy the job of delivering nice gifts to good children and cenere e carbone (ashes and coal) to naughty ones belonged to La Befana. Viene, viene la Befana. Epiphany is a public holiday in Italy, so schools and most businesses are closed. A variation of this story also says that she saw a light in the sky and went to follow it thinking it would lead her to the infant. If the legend didn’t date back so far, it would seem like the Italians just mixed western Halloween and Christmas traditions to create their own January celebration. La Befana Italy's traditional holiday celebration includes the tale of a witch known as La Befana who arrives on her broomstick during the night of January 5th with toys and sweets for the good children and lumps of coal for the bad ones. Italy’s oldest and most celebrated legend Painting by James Lewicki, from “The Golden Book of Christmas Tales” 1956 . And as they lie… Some regions where the religious holiday of the Epiphany is held in a higher regard, such as Umbria, Le Marche, and Latium, have big festivals and markets, and many people like to dress in costume as Befana. To be gracious and thankful hosts, families leave her a glass of wine and a bit of their traditional local food to refuel her for the rest of her journey. Befana is portrayed as a hooded old hag, similar to the type of witches we see during Halloween, covered in soot (she enters homes through the chimney) and rides a broom. The figure of La Befana has been an Italian Christmas tradition, long before Babbo Natale (Santa Claus) made his way into the bel paese culture. Directed by Sean Cisterna. In many ways, the story of Befana reminds me of the biblical story of Mary and Martha (Lazarus' sisters). As the story goes, one day, the three Magi left their country bearing special gifts of gold, incense and myrrh for the new-born Jesus Christ. “Cranky old lady,” the children say. The legendary story of the Befana, known as La Vecchia, is about the old woman Befana who was asked by the Three Kings to come along with them in search to find the Child King, born in Bethlehem. Inside the globe, there’s a cobbled village road and a tiny sculpture of wise old Befana. Befana is said to be an old woman and many refer to her as a witch, who visits all the children in Italy on the eve of the Epiphany, celebrated on January 6. One night, The Three Magi, on their way to find the Christ child, stopped to ask for directions to Bethlehem and for food and shelter. House cleaning witches on brooms, candy or coal in stockings, and all in the name of the biblical holiday of the Epiphany. 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