Tuesday, December 15, 2009

La Befana

While at Epcot we happened to see a lovely witch tell a delightful story which really was special to me, and I want to share it. I wish I could say it the same way she did, but I can’t, so I’ve copied a similar story from http://italian.about.com/library/weekly/aa120600f.htm

La Befana: Kindly old witch who brings children toys on the Feast of the Epiphany, January 6. According to the legend of la Befana, the Three Wise Men stopped at her hut to ask directions on their way to Bethlehem and to invite her to join them. She refused, and later a shepherd asked her to join him in paying respect to the Christ Child. Again she refused, and when night fell she saw a great light in the skies.

La Befana thought perhaps she should have gone with the Three Wise Men, so she gathered some toys that had belonged to her own child, who had died, and ran to find the kings and the shepherd. But la Befana could not find them or the stable. Now, each year she looks for the Christ Child. Since she can not find him, she leaves gifts for the children of Italy and pieces of coal (nowadays carbone dolce, a rock candy that looks remarkably like coal) for the bad ones.

The Disney la Befana says that all children look like a Christ Child when sleeping, so they all get a gift from her.

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