When we were children we did not receive gifts from Santa Claus but from La Befana. La Befana came on the night between 5 and 6 January and brought toys and even a little coal and onions because we had never been perfectly good.
It was very important to stay in bed because if we got out of bed in the night and saw the Befana in the face she would be very angry taking away all the gifts.
La Befana is a very famous magical old lady in Italy and she is more present in some areas than in others.
La Befana is a kind of good witch but there are various characteristics that differentiate her from the witches with whom she is often confused and who has never seen her sometimes portrays her incorrectly.
Below I will list everything that distinguishes La Befana from any witch so when you'll see one you will no longer risk getting confused!
- La Befana never wears boots but slippers, slippers or mountain boots, in short, comfortable shoes because she comes from the mountains and has to walk a lot and being elderly has pain in her feet.
- La Befana does not have a cloak but a warm wool shawl, preferably handmade.,
- She doesn't wear a pointy hat but always, and I mean ALWAYS, a woolen handkerchief tied tightly under his chin.
- La Befana wears old clothes and has a patched skirt, not the glamorous clothes that witches often wear.
- La Befana carries the gifts in a burlap sack that has been used for potatoes or coal so it's old and dirty.
- She wears heavy socks and does not ride the broom like witches but in reverse, with the branches in front,
- La Befana is never made up as witches often do, but her face is blackened by soot because she enters the fireplaces to bring gifts.
What you see in the photos is my doll portrait that I made of La Befana, I don't know if I remember her well because by now, unfortunately, she hasn't come to my house for many years, but I hope she remembers me as a child, because I heard that La Befana keeps all the children she has known in her heart.
To conclude, La Befana is a concrete woman, a hard worker, she is not interested in being elegant but being warm, she is much more like a granny than a fairy being. Of course, she has some power but she only needs it to carry out her task on the night of the Epiphany, for the rest she has aches and colds like any human being of a certain age.
In the past, long before me, the children here in the Apennines used to leave a little hay and water outside the door because it was thought that La Befana arrived in the company of her donkey.
My La Befana has already taken flight to reach another continent but in my Etsy shop you will find some little witches still available.