Epiphany - The Roman Tradition Continues

We had no idea what the "Epiphany" was. We noticed that every time we were out in December that we saw many vendors and stores selling witches. My first thought was Halloween is over what is with all the witches around. Well, every January Romans celebrate Epiphany. And on this day it is considered a national holiday.

This is a special day, particularly for young children. The character animating this festivity is `La Befana'. She is an ugly old lady (witch) who rides on her broom on the night between 5th and 6th of January carrying a bag full of toys, chocolates and sweets for the children that have been well behaved. However there could also be a large supply of ash and coal for the children that have been very naughty.

It's been told that she flies over the rooftops, slipping down the chimneys and quietly filling the stockings that the children have left out for her. Although this occasion marks the end of the Christmas festivities there is still plenty to enjoy.

There are many stalls in Piazza Navona up until January 6th celebrating this special calendar date. This is also the one of the most picturesque Christmas events is the Piazza Navona. The stalls stocked with sweets and toys that surround the square where street artists and families gather. On the night between 5th and 6th of January; the young and old gather here to witness the arrival of `La Befana'.

You can check out the exhibition of 100 Nativities located at SALE DEL BRAMANTE, BASILICA DI SANTA MARIA DEL POPOLO. Piazza del Popolo. Opening hours: every day from 9.30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Admission: €7, reduced €5.50. Until 8 January

This year (2012) the exhibition, is now in its 36th year. It gathers a selection of artistic nativity scenes. This year there are 178 nativities made from a huge variety of materials and with different techniques, ranging from artistic scenes in classical 17th and 18th century Naples style and according to 19th century tradition, to fantastic scenes in which the artists imaginatively transform everyday objects and materials into original representations of the holy

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