An old Italian proverb says: "L'Epifania tutte le feste porta via", which roughly translates as "The Epiphany takes all the holidays away. The Epifania is officially the last day of the festive season. I don't think we, Italians, are the only ones to celebrate this day but we are certainly the strongest believers in this celebration. The night between January 5th and 6th an old witch, known as befana, travels around the Country on her broom and stops at each individual house to leave a little gift to the kids. Stockings are hung at the fireplace ready to be filled in by the witch. And the house explodes with excitement and anticipation. Oh I remember the butterflies in the stomach, staying up all night hoping to hear the witch falling down the chimney! Traditionally, the gift would consist of coal if you were bad and sweets if you were good. Now that we live in an extra commercialised society and in the world of consumerism par excellence, the befana also brings a proper gift, sometimes even quite valuable and expensive. Kids these days want more! I have said it before here and elsewhere that I still believe in Santa, and I'll say this as well, I do believe in befana too. Why not?! So, even if the Brits don't celebrate this day (although, they really should!), we are an Italian family (well, sort of) and while we embrace and welcome all the English traditions, we are also happy to keep our own. So, on Sunday afternoon I invited my cousin amd her family over to celebrate the arrival of befana with a hot chocolate party! And guess what? Befana did pass by our house too! Emilia received a Peppa Pig photo-camera, a Peppa Pig activity book and alphabet cards, together with a lovely Cath Kidston bag. My cousin, her husband and their kids all received something, and so did Rob. I was the only one who didn't get anything. I guess I was particularly bad last year as I didn't even deserve some old coal! Let's hope in a better year to come :)
The hot chocolate was exceptionally good. We had classic and white chocolate options. And loads of biscuits from Italy, all lovely baked by aunt Marilena. And once our tummies were all full and happy, we opened the gifts, chatted, looked at pictures, played, danced and listened to some good music. Emilia absolutely loved looking at music videos and singing with her little friend Nicole!
Now, what's not to like about celebrations? Family gatherings? Gift exchanging and hot chocolate? Let's make Epifania a public holiday in every country around the world! Petition anyone?