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The Befana, an Italian tradition

Today we’ve decided to dedicate a post specifically to our foreign guests, to explain why tomorrow, January 6th, is a public holiday in Italy. On this date, the Christian Church celebrates the Epiphany, that is the manifestation of the divinity of Jesus to humanity, symbolized by the visit of the three Wise Men to the grotto of Bethlehem.

In Italy, however, it is not just a religious festival, however important. For most Italians, 6 January is the day of the Befana. It is a typical character of Italian folklore, little known abroad. Its name derives from a corruption of the term Epiphany. According to tradition, the Befana is an old woman who, flying on a broom, visits the children during the night between 5 and 6 January to fill the socks that the children will have conveniently left hanging on the fireplace or next to a window. Those who behaved well during the year will wake up with the sock full of sweets and small toys, but those who have been less good will only find black coal.

In Palermo, on the occasion of the festivities of tomorrow, many restaurants offer special menus, and there will be events and shows of various kinds. Here we have chosen to point out the extraordinary opening of the Camera delle Meraviglie (Room of Wonders), both on 6 and 7 January, from 10.30am to 1.30pm. It is a room entirely frescoed with arabesque motifs on a blue background, come to light during the renovation of a private home. Furthermore, for the first time, another newly restored salon will also be shown, this time featuring a liberty decoration on the vault. The visit is organized by the Terradamare cooperayive and also includes some other rooms of this precious home in the heart of the Ballarò market (reservation required: 329 8765958 and 320 7672134).

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