Well, we are more than halfway through winter. Temps have been pushing 60 here this week. You too? No? (Awkward. Pulls collar.) OK, moving right along. I’ve noticed a few things this winter that have made me go “huh?” In no particular order:
La Befana. Around Epiphany, we started hearing about an Epiphany witch. Turns out this is La Befana, who may not be a witch so much as an old woman who brings candy or coal to Italian children on Epiphany Eve. (Wikipedia explains it better than I possibly could.) That’s right. The most Catholic country ever has a may-or-may-not-be witch as a part of the Epiphany tradition. We ended up at the zoo on Epiphany and saw a Befana bringing a peanut to the elephant. There were bigger festivals downtown that we opted not to pursue. So, yeah, this is a thing.
Saldi Season. When I go to the grocery store, I frequently see scoto (discount) items. Now, all the stores are bursting with Saldi (sale) signs. That’s right. After all the Christmas buying and shopping and spending, Italy has one of its twice annual sales starting in January. This continues, with deepening discounts on remaining merchandise, until everything is clear for new stock. I can look forward to another Saldi in July. I haven’t taken advantage myself yet, but if you want something 50-90% off, this is the time to do it.
White Week. Private schools are closed this week because all the Italians want to go skiing. Even though things are warming up here, you can find decent skiing less than two hours from Rome. I started to organize some type of tubing event before getting sidetracked, overwhelmed, and abandoning the plan. Knowing now that half the city is on the slopes right now makes me feel better about not making that President’s Day weekend trip happen.
Carnival. This is definitely a thing here. All done now for Lent, of course. A separate post on this soon.
Anything weird and wonderful in your corner of the world? And for real, have you ever heard of an Epiphany witch?