Babo Natale (Santa Claus) is making inroads but the tradition of La Befana - a corruption of the word Epifania (Epiphany)- is still very strong in most families here. Shop windows are filled with her image and dolls and figurines of the old lady are available all over town.
Strangely for Italy, a country obsessed with food traditions, there are no particular foods associated with La Befana. That doesn't stop the pastry shops from making up cakes and goodies. Of course, there's a a gold coin (chocolate) on the cakes for good luck. At our dinner tonight each guest will get a small bag of gold-foiled covered chocolate coins for good luck.
And we did go a little over board buying Befane this year. The one at the top of the page is currently guarding the china cabinet and these two are on our Christmas tree.
La Befana vien di notteGuess we have a new tradition in our house. Buono feste a tutti!
Con le scarpe tutte rotte
Col vestito alla romana
Viva, Viva La Befana!
La Befana comes by night
With her shoes old and broken
She comes dressed in the Roman way
Long life to the Befana!
Update: Our friend Vincenzo tells me that last picture is actually a witch - La Befana would never wear a pointed cap. She always wears a headscarf. I still like her anyway.
06 gennaio - Epifania de Nostre Signore