January 6th, The Story of the Epiphany and La Befana

January 6th, the Story of Epiphany and La Befana by 2sistersrecipes.com

January 6th, The Story of the Epiphany and La Befana.  Our family always celebrates the holidays in a big way, especially Christmas!  There is something wonderful and magical about maintaining traditions.  In our family, the Christmas season begins on Christmas Eve and ends on January 6th!

The Feast of the Epiphany is when Christians around the world celebrate the symbolic day.  The day the Three Kings visited baby Jesus in the manger.


                                          The nativity scene or the presepio we enjoy setting up every year.


In Italy, January 6th is a national holiday, where shops and schools are closed.  It’s also their main day of gift-giving and when children get to open their gifts which have been placed under the tree or inside their stockings, similar to our Santa Claus, only they have an old woman called La Befana.  It’s a joyful day, followed by a feast of food served for the entire family and friends to enjoy.


The legendary story of the Befana, known as La Vecchia, is about the old woman Befana who was asked by the Three Kings to come along with them in search to find the Child King, born in Bethlehem.

She refused, but then later decided to go out in search of the Three Kings and this baby boy, the son of God they talked about.

She went looking for days with her broom, taking some bread along with her.  Every time she saw a baby boy, she would break off a piece of her bread and give it to the child, thinking that he might be the Child King who would recognize her.

Today, every year on the Feast of Epiphany, or Three Kings, the children of Italy eagerly await the arrival of “la vecchia,” who still leaves each child a small gift.

In Italy, traditionally, the family is at the heart of Italian Christmas – Natale.  Not packages and tinsel. The Italian Christmas holiday is more about spending time and sharing a meal together than exchanging presents.

There are so many other customs and traditions around the world and how they celebrate January 6th, the story of the Epiphany, and you can enjoy reading about them here, Epiphany, the Feast of The Three Kings.




This is a doll version of The Old Woman La Befana, La Vecchia – we enjoy taking her out, and telling everyone the story of La Befana every Christmas!

We so enjoy posting this story every year and hope you enjoy it too!


To all our family and friends here, in Italy and around the world,

 Buona Festa!



Enjoy these Edible Gifts and Treats!


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  1. I liked reading about this tradition again this year!
    I also like the story behind the return of the light which I wrote about at the end of December recently.
    Wishing you both a wonderful month of January!

  2. I am always so happy in my heart and soul when I learn of someone else who believes in the true 12 days of Christmas from 12-25 until January 6th and Epiphany. I love how you celebrate and the explanation of La Befana in Italy. What a wonderful tradition!

  3. I really liked reading about your traditions at Christmas time and the legendary story of the Befana, known as "La Vecchia".
    Wishing you both a wonderful and creative New Year!

  4. Long ago during our travels to Germany, we found out it's a tradition in Germany as well but the name of this doll, old woman is called something else. Have a great weekend!

  5. Che bel presepio! Very Italian. I hope the Befana was good to you. I love all your posts. My son and daughter in law in Australia have used a lot of your recipes as well. Your famous even down under.