Buona Befana – January 6th Holiday

Gearing up for the end of the winter holidays, everyone makes numerous resolutions, including me. One of mine is to write more copy on this blog and post more on other people’s blogs. Thank goodness for the blogging groups I participate in #ItalianFWT, #WinePW, #Winophiles, and this year a new one #WorldWineTravel which encourage me to explore and write each month. This year I also have a writing project in my sights so, it should be an interesting year. La Befana, which takes place on January 6th is really the end of the Christmas holiday – also known as Three Kings Day and the Epiphany.

La Befana is a holiday in Italy where an unattractive old looking woman gives out coal to children who are bad and candy to those who were good, the Feast of the Epiphany. Mostly though, the Befana signifies the end of the Winter holidays and after two weeks of vacation, everyone has to go back to work, even in Italy. Many including me, have considerable trouble getting back to work after the holiday season even if that doesn’t entail going to an office.

In Spain today is Three Kings Day and celebrations abound as friends like the World Wine Guys and April Cullom of Casa Abril can attest.

Three Magi

Traditionally, Italians gave their Christmas presents on La Befana, timed to the arrival of the Magi. When I was living there though all anyone got on la Befana was candy or coal. I love this Christmas scene at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Seeing the trees in NYC museums is one of the many traditions I skipped this year. Yesterday when my Panettone arrived though, I was able to celebrate with one of my favorite holiday treats.

I have only ever seen one wine dedicated to La Befana and it came from North Carolina winery Raffaldini. Apparently this ancient family from Mantua in Lombardy has created what they call “Chianti In The Carolinas,” making a number of wines with Italian grapes. Their Befana wine was a sweet wine made using partially dried grapes. I am not sure they are still producing it.

After such a tough year, most people dessert candy and not coal although I can think of some politicians who should receive coal.

Buona Befana!

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