The Befana is in the gloom with her ugly broken shoes: Long Live the Befana!

Well it’ s true, indeed she’ s not so beautiful, she’ s an ugly and old woman, but the Befana is so nice and kind, and everyone loves to celebrate her! Epiphany in fact, in our country is the funniest moment during Christmas holidays.

Traditions concerning Epiphany are many, and they are different from region to region and from city to city: some of those are really unique and particular. In some Italian cities celebrations have very ancient origins and represent a real event.

In Siena (exactly in Bettolle) for example, the “XXIV Mostra dei Presepi” (“14th Nativity Scene’s Exhibition”) will take place, where each of the 5 quarters of the village sets up its own Presepe in a corner of the old town center, and on 6th January, as every year, the city awards the most beautiful creations.

Still in Tuscany, you can’t absolutely miss the “Cavalcata dei Magi” (“The Magi Ride”) in Florence, the traditional manifestation which every year on the 6th of January goes across the “Paradiso”, that is the area between the Dome and the Baptistery. During this very peculiar event, obviously relative to religious traditions but rich of folkloristic elements, the “Magi” overstep the manifestation’s place riding a horse and bringing gifts, anticipated by a procession of hundreds people among representatives of Calcio Storico, Sbandieratori, Gonfaloni etc.

On the other hand, “Viva la Befana” (“Long live the Befana”) boasts of more than 20 years of traditions. This is a manifestation started in 1986 in Rome, and every 6th of January gathers thousands people among Rome citizens and Italian and foreign tourists. The event is an extraordinary fusion between folkloristic and religious elements, which gives as a gift to the spectators a programme rich of music, games and much fun with music bands and cavalcades, all wearing the obligatory past clothes. A pearl? Every year the folkloristic groups arrive to Rome from a different place of our country, this year from Assisi.

But the absolute primacy of Epiphany celebrations belongs with no doubt to Versilia, an extraordinary land which boasts of a long series of history and traditions.
The little municipalities are the nucleus of Versilia’s Epiphany celebrations, for example Camaiore, where on 5th of January the “26th Rassegna delle Befane” (“26th Befanas Exhibition”) will take place, or Seravezza with its magical Casa della Befana (“Befana’s Home”), in which the Befana welcomes the children with many gifts, and Forte dei Marmi with the great Festa della Befana on 6th of January at Palazzetto dello sport.

Therefore, each celebrates in his own way or as tradition says, but there are ingredients to which nobody renounces for a good success of this celebration: music, fun and most of all, a stocking full of delicious sweets!!!

Don’t miss the opportunity to end in a wonderful way your Christmas hiolidays, and don’t wait at home the kind old woman with her broken shoes: the Befana of 2009 takes to the streets!

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