In this episode, I talk about the Italian festival of la Befana which falls on January 6 each year. I explain what the festival is about and trace its origins, which go back almost three thousand years. I then go on to explain the importance of the festival today, how it’s celebrated in various parts of Italy and, of course, the delicious food associated with it.
If you have any questions about this episode, please write them in the comments below and I will answer them as soon as possible. As always, if you enjoyed the episode, please share it with someone else you think might enjoy it. If you have a moment, please rate and/or write a review for this episode on iTunes. This will help other people to find and enjoy the podcast. Thank you so much for your continued support of Luca’s Italy and for all the wonderful feedback I’ve received so far. If you’d like to help me create and develop this podcast and receive exclusive bonus material and updates, please consider becoming a patron. Full details are on my Patreon site. Grazie mille!
The episode includes:
- Who la Befana is and what happens during the festival
- The ancient Roman origins of the festival
- The meaning and function of the festival in the pagan past
- Why the festival is celebrated on January 6
- How Christianity embraced and assimilated the festival
- How the festival developed into its current form
- How the festival is celebrated in different parts of Italy
- What la regatta della Befana is
- La fugassa d’la Befana
- Cavallucci di Siena
- Pastiera Napoletana
Variations of the words to La Befana vien di notte (in Italian).
The recipe for Cavallucci di Siena.
The recipe for Panforte di Siena.
The Befana market in Piazza Navona, in Rome.
La regata della Befana 2020 in Venice.
Images of la Befana at Castroni grocers in Rome.