Witches, festivals and Christmas folklore

E&V Taormina Etna befanaIt’s a famous nursery rhyme which the children sing until the Epiphany; a nice old lady but quite ugly, comes on her broomstick on the night of 6th Jan! She brings the children gifts and sweets … but only if they were good! According to folk lore, the Epiphany refused to go out with the shepherds to visit Baby Jesus, deciding instead to take her gifts the next morning. But the next morning she could find none! So from that day the old lady can be seen wandering amongst the roofs of houses to fill the socks of good children with sweets, and with coal of those who are not! On the night of 31st December, The old lady, is the spectre of Gratteri, a village in the province of Palermo. Wrapped in a white sheet and on a donkey, she gives candy and turtigliuna, (which are local sweets made with almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts and dried fruit). In Messina, in the district of Bordonaro, the Epiphany, is set up ‘ù pagghiaru’, consisting of a pole nine meters high, covered with branches, cakes and cotton, symbolizing a Christmas tree, on top of which, is a cross two meters high, embellished with fruit, ribbons, rolls and loaves of bread. It is the prize for the winner among 14 participants that on the evening of the Epiphany, after the celebration of Holy Mass, will climb up to get it. In Mussomeli, in the province of Caltanissetta, the arrival of the Three Magi and the procession of the statue of the Infant Jesus, are followed by a great community lunch for children. Epiphany is particularly celebrated the towns of Palermo such as in Contessa Entellina and Mezzojuso. On the day of the Epiphany, is commemorated the Baptism of Jesus and the descent of the Holy Spirit, by releasing a dove. Even at Piana degli Albanesi, the festivities are held in the main square, symbolizing the baptism of Jesus. The celebrant dips a cross three times in water and after the third time a dove is released, symbolizing the descent of the Holy Spirit. Street parties on the day of the January 6th are arranged in all cities and villages of Sicily. If you have been good, there may be a sweet for you as well! Filastrocca: “La Befana vien di notte con le scarpe tutte rotte con le toppe alla sottana: Viva, viva la Befana!” Rhyme: The witches come by night with broken shoes to the patched skirts: Viva, viva la Befana! “


Città di riferimento

Messina – Palermo – Caltanissetta – Catania – Agrigento


By car:

Da Palermo A19 Palermo-Catania in direzione Gratteri

From Palermo A19 Palermo-Catania to Gratteri

Da Palermo SS624 in direzione Contessa Entellina

From Palermo SS624, Contessa Entellina direction

Da Palermo SS121 in direzione Mezzojuso

From Palermo SS121, Mezzojuso direction

Da Palermo SP5 in direzione Piana degli Albanesi

From Palermo SP5 Piana degli Albanesi direction

Messina quartiere Bordonaro

Messina- Bordonaro District

Da Caltanissetta SP38 direzione Mussomeli

From Caltanissetta- SP38 Mussomeli direction


Posted in E&V Worldwide | Events.