Italia: Endeavour Language Teacher Fellowship

L'avventura

Friday, January 06, 2006

La Befana

January 5th: Today we were divided into two groups for our lessons. Each day we do a three hour block in the morning and a three hour block in the afternoon. There is a short break of fifteen minutes in the middle of each block. Many people use this time to quickly write or read an email. We spent the morning focusing on the corrections to our written exams and introducing each other; in Italian naturally.
The afternoon session involved the interpretation of maps. We also talked about the Befana. This photo is a effigy of the Befana in one of the squares in Prato's historic centre. The Befana is an old lady who leaves gifts for children the night before Epiphany. Befana comes from the word Epiphany. Every year, on January 6th, the Feast of the Epiphany (the arrival of the Three Wise Men), the Christmas Befana visits all children in Italy, leaving cookies, candies and gifts. Legend says she is looking for the Christ Child. Children who misbehave themselves receive a piece of carbone (coal) instead of something nice. The old effigy from the year before is burnt the night before making way for the new one.

Whilst we were in this particular piazza (square) we witnessed the burning of this one, pretty ugly isn't she! The fire brigade was there just to make sure everything was in order. Liz, Rosemary, Rosanna, Paula and I then went and did some shopping. We went to the coperativa to buy batteries, tissues, snacks etc and then went to a bookshop. After a tasty soup for tea Liz and I retired relatively early, well before ten o'clock.

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