8 hours ago
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
My favorite last little bit o' Christmas
Western Christians have celebrated January 6 as the Epiphany, or the arrival of the Magi, for centuries. Growing up Catholic, for me January 6 signified that and the last chance for presents. Need I say what garnered greater importance for me at age 10?
My mother who is a full-blooded, hot-tempered Italian and a good Catholic - also incorporated La Befana into our holiday. For those who may be unfamiliar, La Befana is an Italian folklore figure - cross between a witch and a sweet granny. She leaves all the good children candy and toys, while the bad children get coal. For some reason, we always got three books. Hmmm...
Long story short - the Magi asked La Befana for directions to find the Baby Jesus. (That's a myth...ask for directions? Please.) She couldn't help them but offered shelter for the night.
When they departed, the Magi invited her to join them on the journey to find the Christ child, but she declined, saying she was too busy with her housework. (Typical Italian granny.) She later changed her mind and tried to search out the Magi and the babe, Jesus. Unable to find them, she now continues her search for the baby Jesus on the eve of the Epiphany.
Consider me your blogging La Befana - minus the granny part. (Wish I couldn't lay claim to being called a witch once or twice, but you knew better...)
Three of my favorite books for you:
Saints: A Year in Faith and Art. Beautiful book with interesting, brief descriptions of saints corresponding with their day of beatification and incredible art. Even if saints or art are not your thing - it will make my mom really happy if you crack the binding.
Ahhh...more familiar territory - sinners. Sin in the Second City: Madams, Ministers, Playboys, and the Battle for America's Soul is a great book about the most famous brothel in American history, the Everleigh Club of Chicago. (My mom would not approve.)
My Misspent Youth: Essays - Not my autobiography, but witty and dripping with sarcasm. Love her writing.
I know this was long. Thanks for hanging in there for this last little bit o' Christmas.
Now, bring on the king cake!
Mrs. News Readin'