La Befana vien di notte
Con le scarpe tutte rotte
Col vestito alla romana
Viva, Viva La Befana!
La Befana was an old Italian lady who spent her days cleaning and scrubbing her house. One day three travelers stopped by. It turned out they were the three wise men who were following the bright star in the sky which would lead them to the newborn baby Jesus. They stopped to rest with La Befana and before they left they invited the old lady to come with them and meet the infant king. La Befana refused. She wanted to get back to her cleaning and felt she had wasted enough time as it was.
But afterwards, she thought the matter over and realized what a glorious opportunity she’d thrown away,so she ran after the three wise men, broom in hand and apron still around her waist, to find them and go with them to meet the infant king. She is still running but time has changed her errand. Now, at Christmastime, she runs over the roofs in Italy bringing gifts to all the children every year on the 6th of January.
La Befana is one of Italy's oldest and most celebrated legends. Each year on January 6 the children of Italy awaken in hopes that La Befana has made a visit to their house. This is a significant day to Italians because it marks the end of the Christmas season and the day that the three Wise Men arrived at the manger of the Christ child. Over the years the Epiphany has been a more celebrated holiday for the children of Italy than even Christmas.