07 January 2010

La Befana

Befana or the Epiphany is the Christian holiday celebrated where God made man in the person of Jesus Christ. La Befana is similar to how Americans celebrate Christmas with the stockings hanging only it is celebrated on the 6th of January. And if the kids are good, they get little treats and candy; but if they are bad, they get aglio ("garlic") and/or chunks of carbone ("coal"). I happened to receive a stocking with only two pieces of coal and plenty of chocolate; so I've been pretty good, it appears.

The point is it is yet another holiday. It seems like there has been one holiday after another. And it has taken me quite some time to get accustomed to buying all the grocieries I will need in advance of Sunday and any holidays. Because of the day of the week Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve fell this year, it is quite a challenge to buy enough fresh food to last so many days. The markets close early on the eve of the holiday; so it is necessary to have been to the market before lunch. Thursday afternoon, Friday Christmas and New Year's Day, and the day after Christmas is a holiday. Sunday the markets are all closed anyhow. Certain markets are closed Monday afternoons and sometimes even Tuesday afternoons. La Befana rolled around on Wednesday.

Either I misunderstood because of my broken Italian or was told incorrectly that "No, nothing will be closed for this holiday," but once again, I found myself unprepared with food to feed myself over the holiday. As my friend and roommate has reminded me that is why, at a minimum, we always have dried beans in the house. I have taken to buying fresh eggs, chicken, meat, salumi, bread, milk, yogurt, olives, fruits and vegetables, et cetera on an almost-daily basis.

No more major holidays until Pasqua ("Pasqua").  Phew!
-- Josslyn 'Giosalina'
Firenze, Italia

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