Buona Befana


As the holiday season approached this year I learned about some of the Italian traditions and one took me by pleasant surprise.


Image from santranslate.com/la-befana/



La Befana – She is the legend of an old witch who visits homes to leave gifts for good children and coal for bad ones on the 5th of January.   I’ve read several accounts of her story and from what I’ve gathered she is a Pagan tradition that was conformed into Christianity as an old witch who originally turned down going with the wise men to meet baby Jesus but changed her mind and on the 12th night after Christmas she is flying around searching for the baby Jesus and leaving gifts.



Image from an illustrated book reviewed at: ItalophileBookReviews

A few more resources:

Nonna Rosa’s World

Italian Link

Italy Heritage  (If non other, click this one, it really breaks down the tradition in an easy to read site)

La Befanas


I’ve learned the basic observance is children hanging the stockings the night of January 5th to have them filled with candy (the coal here is candy made to look like coal because even misbehaved children have promise to be good) and apparently the stores will have massive sales (like Black Friday) through this weekend.


As I walked around our lovely little town during the last couple of weeks I’ve noticed shops carry La Befana dolls and crafts, even the chocolatier has chocolate witches and special stockings that look like a witch’s boot, chocolate witch hats and other items.  I felt a bit weird asking to take photos so I didn’t, you’ll just have to go to know.

I have come to find out there are quite a few Christmas witch type traditions around the world, please feel free to share if you know any.


Featured image from this site, all images are sourced to respect the borrow from them, if any of these sites are not happy with my use of the images, please let me know and I’ll remove them immediately.



2 thoughts on “Buona Befana

  1. Isn’t it interesting? I have a piece of needlework showing her standing, front view, and no broom. Well, I don’t remember a broom. It’s been in my stash for about 20 years. My grandma used her as a threat to keep me in line. 20 years. Maybe I should get it out and see if my fingers can do some embroidery. Another addition to my to-do list. And, yet, there’s so many books to read…… Take care. Mama

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s