Saturday, 5 January 2008


Tonight our neighborhood has that smell I am very much familiar with. A saying goes, "if there's smoke, there's fire", which for us Cordillerans say it better with, "if there's smoke, there is caƱao". Italians too have their eidetic image of this which is " where there's smoke, its the burning of the 'Befana' ".

'La Befana', as the old legend recounts, is the old witch who once welcomed The Three Kings in her home as they were on their way to see baby Jesus. Before the three guest left, they invited her to go with them but she declined for reasons she still has a lot of chores to do. "Change of heart" according to one of the article I've read as I was researching for this piece, made the Befana change her mind and tried to catch up in joining the Three Kings. She never found the Wise Men nor Baby Jesus. So, till this day she still goes flying around on his broom but leaves sweets, toys and nice gifts to good children and coal to those who are bad. (For more about Befana(origin, full story, history etc...) , click HERE and HERE.)

The night before the Epiphany or the 5th of January, to mark the end of the Yuletide festivities and Befana celebration is the burning of this, scary black clothed with long nose old lady. An effigy of the witch which is burned in observance of the Italian's tradition to turning the bad things from the old year into ashes and pave way for the best new things to come.

Cavallino Treporti Witch

Every year our place Cavallino and it's neighboring communities make this event bigger and more spectacular. Stalls serving wines and Panettone are also found along side and sometimes they sell barbecues or stakes. While the witch is on fire, fire crackers are also being lit.
These are some photos of the 'Befanas' we took the other day before they got torched last night.

Ca'Ballarin Witch

Ca'Pascuali Befana

January 6, on Epiphany day, the children will know if they've been good by "unloading" the sock the old witch had left them during the night. For my boys they opened it earlier.

Last year, Lukie went with my husband and our son still vividly remembers what they did that night. For him, it was a tradition that after seeing the Befana's torching would be a take home fries and pizza spree. To our dismay, it rained so we were not able to go and see the ceremony we've been expecting to attend. That is why I let them open their sock of goodies ahead of time.
After dinner, Lukie told me if we could go now and watch the burning witch and I told him, "Didn't I tell you we can't go because its raining? Besides, it may be over now". Then he answered, "Oh, how about the pizza then?" When he already ate a plate of pasta and and his dessert of chocolates and haribos from his 'socky'! Kids!!!

2007 Befana with the Macalele kids

2007 Befana



we were able to see the event last night.Roldan is very quiet when they started burning the Befana.He just started shouting and clapping at the end,during the fireworks.
Ours is the Caballarin witch,I think it's the biggest and most creative one,hehehe.It was overcrowded so we just stayed below our apartment(good view metlang met)Bad thing is,I think Noemi got a cough from the cold and drizzle last night.


hi lovelyn, thanks for sharing this.i never knew there's such a celebration like this that comes with the Three Kings, hihihi. HHmmnnn...
hello matsay, i saw the pix also in your blog.poor noemi, hope she gets well soon.

KK aka Tina

When there is smoke there's pinipikan :) !

That's a pretty interesting custom over there. Thanks for sharing Lovelyn.

Baguio Insider

Happy New Year, Lovelyn!

Great photos, and a wonderful story about the Befana (like jane said, I never knew there was such a celebration). Imagine a witch built into the Epiphany story . . .

Thanks for being such a wonderful storyteller.



Ciao MAtsay,

At least adi, you were able to see it burned. Hope kids are Ok now.

Ciao Jane,

We've been anticipating it tapos umulan pa. Sayang, it would be a long wait for next year na naman.

Ciao Tina,

YEah that too, pinikpikan is even more appropriate. Sa hirap daw buhay, ala na nagka-canao.

Ciao Ma'am Lisa,

Re: Wonderful storyteller: Thanks. Coming from you, it is such an achievement.

La Befana is more celebrated here than Halloween or Christmas.

A blessed and healthy 2008 to you too!


wow, interesting. dito we have sternsingers or those kids dressed up as the three kings going around the town singing and collecting money for poor countries. nga pala, when there is smoke there is lechon, ahahaha


What a great tradition to share with us, Lovelyn, and I love the photos too. Gosh, the world is so big in this way! There's just so much around the world going on, and I'm glad to learn new things from you.


Ciao Raggold,

That's better. Collecting goodies for poor countries. For a good cause kumbaga.

Ciao Megamom

Thanks for those kind words.

You're very right, the world is really big. In a way, thanks for the net, its making it small for us.

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