Copyright © Louise Bostock 2007-2013. Please give credit where credit is due.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

La Befana, Epiphany, Twelfth Night

Minus one at 8:30am and snowing beautifully if not all that hard.

Unhappily, this means that this year we will probably not be attending the arrival of La Befana, the Italian witch who puts in an appearance on Epiphany, bringing gifts to the children. In Cannobio, she arrives at the lakeside in a coxless pair from some undefinable point on the lake, rowed by two hunks from the local rowing club, for the delight of a large crowd of expectant children (and their mothers).

The La Befana story, as far as I understand it, is as follows : in Bethlehem lives an old woman, mourning a child who died. When the angels send the shepherds to the stable, they drop in on her and invite her to come with them. In her grief for her own baby she refuses. On the way back to their flocks, the shepherds tell her all about it and she is fired with inspiration. She throws all the toys she has lying around the house into a sack and heads for the stable. Unhappily, she has missed the Holy Family, who are already on their flight to Egypt (if you'll excuse the pun). On her sad journey back home, she distributes the toys to the children she meets.

Here in Carmine it's also Twelfth Night and, as prescribed, we're undressing the Christmas tree and bundling up the cards and giftwrap for next year's craft efforts. As Shakespeare wrote (though not in Twelfth Night), "our revels now are ended" - Christmas is officially over and now it's only a matter of a couple of days before we're back on the slippery slope to kindergarten.


Copyright © Louise Bostock 2007, 2008, 2009. All rights reserved. Please ask first.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Louise,
Thats a lovely story and a treat for the kids. Lets hope it doesn't get cancelled because of the snow.
-6 centigrade last night.

Louise, Carmine Superiore said...

Yes, it would be a treat, only the snow makes me inclined to stay at home...taking two tweenies down the hill alone in the snow isn't really my idea of fun.

Gypsy at Heart said...

Befania sounds like Kings day. I never take my tree down before kings day so that means that tomorrow, I shall go through the sad task of putting it all away. I wish it weren't over. Christmas is my favorite holiday of the year.
Keep warm.

LadyFi said...

Put the dotties in a sled and race downhill perhaps? Might be magical in the snow...

Do kids get presents in their shoes over there on 12th night?

Our Christmas revels last until about Feb or even March in a lazy year! :-)

Laura said...

Quirky story, what a shame the weather isn't playing ball. If it's any consolation, it's pretty cold and icy in England too

Massimo Brusa said...

Hi Louise, I was in Carmine Superiore the last 21th December, for the Christmas Mass. It was so long time since I wanted to see the San Gottardo Church inside, so I came purposely there from my home, in Caresanablot. I took some pictures, and I have them just uploaded in Flickr:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/brusman/sets/72157612195655219/
Go and see them, if you like it!
Maybe you and your relatives are in the final party snapshots, on the parvis!
bye! Massimo

Braja said...

Hmmm. Is this meant to be a nice story? :)

Louise, Carmine Superiore said...

Dear Braja ... I know what you mean, but there is a certain sense of catharsis about it, and a feeling I've only found here in Italy, that one's personal catharsis/wellness benefits the whole community somehow...

Braja said...

Then...it's a nice story :)

Joy in the Burbs... said...

This is why I love your blog. I learn from it.

Unfortunately I've never waited until Ephiphany to take my tree down and finish our Christmas celebration.
In America Thanksgiving seems to usher in Christmas and the decorations and by the time New Years comes we want it all put away. Next year I'm going to focus more on Epiphany.

Joy

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

La Befana, Epiphany, Twelfth Night

Minus one at 8:30am and snowing beautifully if not all that hard.

Unhappily, this means that this year we will probably not be attending the arrival of La Befana, the Italian witch who puts in an appearance on Epiphany, bringing gifts to the children. In Cannobio, she arrives at the lakeside in a coxless pair from some undefinable point on the lake, rowed by two hunks from the local rowing club, for the delight of a large crowd of expectant children (and their mothers).

The La Befana story, as far as I understand it, is as follows : in Bethlehem lives an old woman, mourning a child who died. When the angels send the shepherds to the stable, they drop in on her and invite her to come with them. In her grief for her own baby she refuses. On the way back to their flocks, the shepherds tell her all about it and she is fired with inspiration. She throws all the toys she has lying around the house into a sack and heads for the stable. Unhappily, she has missed the Holy Family, who are already on their flight to Egypt (if you'll excuse the pun). On her sad journey back home, she distributes the toys to the children she meets.

Here in Carmine it's also Twelfth Night and, as prescribed, we're undressing the Christmas tree and bundling up the cards and giftwrap for next year's craft efforts. As Shakespeare wrote (though not in Twelfth Night), "our revels now are ended" - Christmas is officially over and now it's only a matter of a couple of days before we're back on the slippery slope to kindergarten.


Copyright © Louise Bostock 2007, 2008, 2009. All rights reserved. Please ask first.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Louise,
Thats a lovely story and a treat for the kids. Lets hope it doesn't get cancelled because of the snow.
-6 centigrade last night.

Louise, Carmine Superiore said...

Yes, it would be a treat, only the snow makes me inclined to stay at home...taking two tweenies down the hill alone in the snow isn't really my idea of fun.

Gypsy at Heart said...

Befania sounds like Kings day. I never take my tree down before kings day so that means that tomorrow, I shall go through the sad task of putting it all away. I wish it weren't over. Christmas is my favorite holiday of the year.
Keep warm.

LadyFi said...

Put the dotties in a sled and race downhill perhaps? Might be magical in the snow...

Do kids get presents in their shoes over there on 12th night?

Our Christmas revels last until about Feb or even March in a lazy year! :-)

Laura said...

Quirky story, what a shame the weather isn't playing ball. If it's any consolation, it's pretty cold and icy in England too

Massimo Brusa said...

Hi Louise, I was in Carmine Superiore the last 21th December, for the Christmas Mass. It was so long time since I wanted to see the San Gottardo Church inside, so I came purposely there from my home, in Caresanablot. I took some pictures, and I have them just uploaded in Flickr:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/brusman/sets/72157612195655219/
Go and see them, if you like it!
Maybe you and your relatives are in the final party snapshots, on the parvis!
bye! Massimo

Braja said...

Hmmm. Is this meant to be a nice story? :)

Louise, Carmine Superiore said...

Dear Braja ... I know what you mean, but there is a certain sense of catharsis about it, and a feeling I've only found here in Italy, that one's personal catharsis/wellness benefits the whole community somehow...

Braja said...

Then...it's a nice story :)

Joy in the Burbs... said...

This is why I love your blog. I learn from it.

Unfortunately I've never waited until Ephiphany to take my tree down and finish our Christmas celebration.
In America Thanksgiving seems to usher in Christmas and the decorations and by the time New Years comes we want it all put away. Next year I'm going to focus more on Epiphany.

Joy