Epiphanic Mayhem

January the 6th was Epiphany, or 12th night. In England it means you take down the Christmas tree and all the decorations or you will have bad luck all year. But in Italy it seems to have a much wider significance that mixes pagan and Christian in a very interesting way. It’s not just the anniversary of the arrival of the Magi at Bethlehem, or the descent of the holy ghost, but a public holiday with celebrations and music. Children are given stockings filled with sweets and a witch - La Befana - flies on her broomstick.
We were having a pizza in our local bar when suddenly the door opened and a group of musicians and singers arrived, visiting homes and restaurants like carol singers and playing strange eastern European music. It’s fascinating to live in a place where local traditions are still strong, spontaneous and not just something trotted out for tourists.
Neil did a small video of the music, which I will put up here, though the quality isn't very good because it was filmed in a very dark bar!


  1. Oh that is so very Italy, Kathleen! Am feeling very nostalgic. Thanks to Neil for capturing the moment.

  2. How fun!
    Stop posting all this great stuff about Italy!
    I am feeling not nostalgic, but jealous.

  3. Loved the jolly cafe sequence. Wondered about the the lyre-type instrument and the fierce looking bearded man who pulled on his coat and walked out. Looks like a cool lifestyle, kathleen.
    Enjoyed your winter poem = so resonant just now...

  4. Hi everyone - Just to reassure those who are a bit nostalgic or even jealous that all is not entirely idyllic - cold rain at the moment, bleak and depressing, and the house is holiday house geared to keeping the heat out! We have two duvets on the bed ......
    The lyre instrument that Wendy commented on was fascinating - they're locally made and a bit like a xylophone with bells on.
    X KJ


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