Every year on January 6 or there about, La Befana pays a visit to children of Lucanian descent. The “old lady” makes her entrance dressed in rags and sweeping the floor with her broom to a room filled with eagerly awaiting children, their parents and their nonni. She tells the story of La Befana as is was told to her many years ago when she was a child; only this time the story is told in English with splashes of Italian dialect to amuse the adults. “La Befana vien di notte con le scarpe tutte rotte, con la cuffia alla romana; Viva, Viva La Befana.” The children repeat the chant knowing full well what comes next. Indeed, with the aid of her “elves” La Befana, played by Maria Milano, calls out the names and hands out gifts to patiently waiting children. Their eyes all aglow and faces filled with smiles as they receive and open their gifts. Shortly after some playtime, the pizza arrives and everyone feasts. Everyone has an enjoyable time, the children listening to the story of La Befana and receiving the gifts, as well as the adults seeing not only the happiness on the faces of their little loved ones, but also to the jovialness brought by La Befana herself.
The Basilicata Cultural Society of Canada, located at