Italian Holiday Traditions

For Americans, January 1st brings a close to the holiday season. In Italy, the holiday season doesn’t seem to end until Epiphany. In Italy (or at least out region), this is celebrated with Pan E Vin the night before. Pan E Vin translates to bread and wine. A bonfire is lit, bread and wine are shared and it is a setting for a wonderful evening. Placed on top of the bonfire is a Vechia or “old lady” puppet. She represents all the mishaps from the year before and is burned for this. The direction of the smoke is supposed to indicate whether the year will be good or bad. This year we had the opportunity to travel up the mountain for Pan E Vin. The ski masters ski down with torches to light the bonfire. Once the masters make it down, they throw their torches on the pile and watch until the old lady is consumed.

 

Following the bonfire, children are visited by La Befana. La Befana is an old woman resembling in witch who rides a broom on the night before epiphany delivering gifts to those who have left out their socks. Children are to leave la Befana wine and food for her stop. I personally think this witch has a good thing going for her…I much prefer this over Santa’s milk and cookies. Good children will receive candies while bad children will receive coal or sticks in poorer regions. This year we decided to leave out socks for the kids to have a visit from La Befana. They were very excited to see the treats she left!

So here’s to a great year with new adventures. May 2019 be the best one yet!

-Candice


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