Today is Epiphany, the day when the Three Kings, after their long journey, discovered the Christ Child, paid homage and gave Him gifts. In Italy it is the day when children receive their Christmas presents (or, traditionally, bad ones receive a lump of coal.) They were delivered last night and are being opened today.
The purveyor of these gifts is a witch, a hag called Befana, who, despite her looks, has an affectionate place in every Italian’s heart. If you’d like to know more, there’s an amusing story in the Romper online magazine, comparing and contrasting Befana with Santa Claus, which you can see by clicking here.
For my part, I like to celebrate Epiphany by looking at the pictures by Benozzo Gozzoli in the Medici palace here in Florence, showing the arrival of the Three Kings.
The pictures themselves are wonderful and, for those of historical inclinations, you can play detective by trying to identify contemporary figures portrayed as the kings and members of their entourage, Lorenzo the Magnificent among them. To help unravel the detective story, please go to the Museums in Florence, Chapel of the Magi web page by clicking here.
Happy Epiphany everyone!