To me, La Befana is an underappreciated Christmas figure that should be just as popular as Krampus! Originating in Italy, La Befana, aka the Christmas Witch, is a legend thousands of years old. As the story goes, an older woman lived in a village that the Magi passed through on their journey to deliver gifts to the newborn Jesus Christ. Many people followed the Magi with their own gifts to deliver to the newborn messiah, but this woman did not join them as she was too busy with her housework. Once she realized her mistake, she ran out of her house with her broom and presents to try to catch up to the Magi, but it was too late. Ever since then on the eve of January 6th, the Epiphany, the woman who would become La Befana flies from house to house on her broomstick, delivering all the gifts she wasn't able to give to the newborn Jesus to good children.
Living in an Italian household, I grew up with this story and looked forward to La Befana's visits every year (as long as I had been good!). I love everything La Befana still, and hers is one of my favorite Christmas legends. In honor of La Befana, I've rounded up some artwork inspired by her from a variety of artists. I am so glad her name is becoming more and more recognized and love sharing her story!
Check out art inspired by La Befana below:
Buon Natale and Buon Befana!