Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Happy Epifania from Italy - and Beware the Witch!

My small Italian tree
It's the 6th of January - 12th Night in the UK and not much noticed except by the superstitious who have to whisk down the Christmas Tree to avoid bad luck.  Here in Italy it is Epifania - a big feast and a public holiday. It is the last of the great Christmas feast days.  There are church services, parades and a lot of celebrating.  Later on La Befana makes an appearance - the Witch of Epiphany - sometimes accompanied by her Three Wise Men.  It seems a strange mix of the pagan and the Christian.  La Befana rewards good children with sweets and bad children with charcoal and she has her own song, which is sung in procession or, in our village, also played by the town band as they accompany her round all the houses.

Sadly, I am still laid low by post-viral exhaustion, after a very nasty bout of Italian flu caught on New Year's Eve, and I've been watching the glorious sunny weather outside harbouring evil thoughts towards whatever malevolent spirit of Last Year or This Year that gave it to me.  Not getting too much work done either - my head is so full of virus that I can't even contemplate the Theory, or the Concept, never mind the Practise, of Anything.  But I did manage to struggle out of bed to take the tree down before La Befana flies past on her broomstick! Always did prefer sweets to charcoal.




2 comments:

  1. So sorry about the malaise hanging around, horrid. Cuddle up somewhere and read if you can.
    I always mark 12th night, definitely getting the cards and decorations down, the tree out of the house before midnight, even if we've had a 12th Night party (bean hidden in the cake) a King, Queen and Lord of Misrule..... having a party is a splendid way to finish the holiday, and gives someone a chance to make mischief. Once I found a very expensive party firework-cum-cracker reduced hugely in a New Year Liberty sale. When it exploded all were showered with hats, very decent gifts, ticker tape and balloons. I think it was £14 instead of 50 something.
    I'd never heard of the 12th night witch before, fascinating. I want to know more.

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  2. Your cracker sounds wonderful Carol! Yes, La Befana is very strange - something deeply pagan that has been woven into the Christmas traditions. I love it!

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