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 P. Buckley Moss Newsletter

Feb 10-11, 2024
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Dear Friends,


Celebration of The Epiphany in Cortona, Italy.


Global travel throughout most of my life has helped fuel my creativity, but it has also fostered a passion and curiosity in different cultures and their celebrations. For example, recently we marked Three Kings Day, also known as The Epiphany, on January the 6th. This Christian celebration commemorates the arrival of the three kings who followed the Star of Bethlehem to bring gifts to the Christ child. It is also is the 12th day of Christmas.


Following the Epiphany Mass, Three Kings are seen strolling through Cortona.


In Italy there is a concurrent celebration of the 12 Days of Christmas that is rooted in pagan lore. Have you heard of the legend of La Befana? In Italian folklore La Befana is an old woman or witch who delivers candy and gifts to children on the night before the Epiphany. One version of the origin of this character has her delivering gifts in atonement for having missed the original celebration of the Christ child. I read from, “According to the Italian legend, La Befana, a witch-like woman riding on a broom, refused to join the Wise Men on their journey to see the baby Jesus. When she regrets her decision, she sets out to bring gifts to the Child but never finds him. Instead, she leaves gifts for other children. Italian children leave out their shoes or put up stockings for La Befana to fill on January 5th, Epiphany Eve.”

Another version from ancient times, states that following the Roman winter solstice (December 25) celebrations were held for 12 days afterwards, with each day representative of each month of the year. The purpose for these celebrations was to provide an offering for agricultural blessing. During this time, La Befana was said to be seen flying over the fields.


Of course all Italian traditions must include food. Carefully prepared dishes and time honored recipes from friends and family make for a beautiful and delicious feast. Pictured here is the Feast of the Epiphany at my daughter’s home in Cortona.


Perhaps the backbone of the Italian holiday celebrations is the gathering of family and remembrance of those who have passed away. In this picture my granddaughter Sofi places flowers on her grandfather’s grave and hugs her grandmother Enza


What I would say is the defining characteristic of all these traditions, is that they are rooted in a celebration of love. Valentine’s Day is next month but I don’t think we should wait for just the big holidays to let others know that we care.


Until next week,




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