January 6th – Italy Epiphany Celebration day

In Italy the Epiphany celebration is a national holiday that is celebrated on January 6. The Feast of the Epiphany traditionally commemorates when The Magi, known as The Three Wise Men or The Three Kings, visited Jesus. As the story goes The Three Wise Men visited Jesus in the manger bringing with them gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. They are regular figures in traditional accounts of the nativity celebrations of Christmas and are an important part of Christian tradition.

The date falls 12 days after Christmas. In Italy the Christmas holiday season lasts through the Epiphany celebration. Gifts are exchanged on this day making it like an American Christmas holidays.The Epiphany for children includes the Italian Christmas witch La Befana.  The Befana, a character of the Italian folklore probably originated in central Italy. Since then it has become a nation-wide tradition. La Befana is an old woman who flies on a broomstick wearing a black shawl. She looks like a witch. La Befana delivers candies, sweets and little gifts to children throughout Italy on the night of January 5 in a similar way to Santa Claus. A

This religious feast brings a perfect fulfillment of all the purposes of Advent. Epiphany, therefore, marks the liturgical zenith of the Advent-Christmas season. Three mysteries are encompassed in the Epiphany celebration: the adoration of the Christ Child by the Magi, the Baptism of Christ and the wedding feast at Cana.

Venice Clock Tower: the statues of the Magi Kings

If you are in Venice on the day of the Epiphany ( or on the day of Festa Della Sensa) you cannot miss this short but unmissable event, that every year comes to life in Piazza San Marco, observing the Clock Tower.

From midday you can admire the Three Wise Men, the Magi King, in procession in front of the Virgin Mary and the Little Jesus. At the stroke of every hour, from the panel next to the clock, comes out this procession of wooden figures, representing the Nativity, just like a giant carillon.

They come out of a side door preceded by an Angel with a trumpet, bow before Jesus and Mary and fall into the ancient Tower. The statues are not the originals ones of 1499 but a faithful copy made in the 18th century.



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