Barga, Tradition|

“La Befana vien di notte con le scarpe tutte rotte”, literally “Befana comes by night with ruined shoes” is a nursery rhyme in Italy. Epiphany is a truely heartfelt event especially in Barga; even the famous poet Giovanni Pascoli, who lived in Castelvecchio di Barga (later renamed Castelvecchio Pascoli), described this figure in his poem La Befana.

During the first day, the festivities are entirely based on the town and its traditions such as songs, dances, and music. On 5 January, Befana gives a present to every child; some children like to dress up as Befana and they are called befanottini. This day is important not just to celebrate an annual feast day, but to bring people together and make them feel part of a community.

In this period baking and eating traditional homemade biscuits called befanini, decorated by hand with marzipan, is very common. These biscuits are usually prepared during the Christmas holidays, but the day they are most sought after is on 6 January, when they are served in Pegnana, a locality near Barga, where the Befana‘s home is located.

The adorable lodge represents a gathering point for everyone on this day: there you can find Befana and admire her home. Her house is easy to spot as you cannot miss the washing hanging out to dry.

Befana‘s home is open, in winter, every Sunday afternoon, until January, from 2.30pm.

Be careful, children, if you are good, Befana will bring you lots of sweets and presents, if not you’ll need to make do with coal!

WEBOGRAPHY (source of the photo)

la ricetta (e la tradizione) della “befana barghigiana”

La casina della Befana

— Written by Francesca Catoi and translated by Margherita Paolinelli

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