Yesterday we talked about the magical old lady, Befana, that rides her broomstick and delivers gifts and candy to good children and coal or dark chocolate to bad ones. Where did the legend of Befana come from? The name seems to come from the feast of the Epiphany when she arrives. In Italian it is “La festa dell’Epifania”. And Bfana might have come from that name. But scholars seem to believe she was around in ancient Roman times and called the heathen name, Strenua. This was a goddess of spirit that predates Christianity. She was known for her strength and endurance.
Similar customs can be found all over Europe from the Celtics to Sicily. Befana has a website where you can read all about her and even by Befana gifts. Customs are fun to learn about and understand how they played a role in our own customs. Enjoy!
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