Cinigiano: befanate tradition

Some say that she's wearing a cloak, some others say that she's riding a broom; she's a whitch for someone and a good grandmother for others. Whatever your belief is, you can be cetrain that she's comeing up to visit you in the night between January 5th and 6th and shes going to leave you sweets or coal inside a sock.

The Befana tradition is very old and it dues its origins to the fire festivals that took place at the end of the year: during this festivals it was an habitude to burn a puppet made of sticks and straw, called "The Old One". Folklore and popular beliefs gave the puppet, representing the old year and the spirit of winter nature, a human shape creating Befana. This old wise woman walks through the threshold of the old year to bring the promise of new harvests and prosperity, bringing sweets and the ashes of theese just ended bonfires.

Cristian tradition has its own telling about Befana too. This is really tied to the Three Kings going to visit Jesus. They tell thet they asked for information to an old woman during their journey. She was so kind that they asked her to follow them. In the first moment she said no, but after a few minutes she regretted her decision and decided to start her journey with a bag full of sweets. She thought to knok to every door of every house she met along the trip, to give sweets to children, hopeing to find jesus too.

Befana journey is celebrated in Maremma in the night between January 5th and 6th, with "Befenate". This are moments of cooperation among the inhabitants of the towns: they dress up as a Befanaand go arownd the town singing traditional songs, entetraining children and families in exchange of a glass of wine and some sweets. Befane carry the tradition sweets bag and the give sweets to children.

Befana is very busy in CInigiano, because she goes around the town and the Municipality territoty, so she had to leave her broom for a VEspa or a car.


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