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?
4 thoughts on “Local Happenings (Did you know about the Epiphany witch?)”
Have I got a local event for you!
Next week, and every February, Delmarva is treated to the International World Championship Muskrat Skinning Competition as part of the National Outdoor Show (http://visitmaryland.org/events/pages/nationaloutdoorshow.aspx). In addition to the actual skinning competition, festivities include an auction that will include a handmade muskrat skin teddy bear which often sells for more than my biweekly paycheck and the Miss Outdoor Pageant in which contestants often showcase their skinning skills in the talent portion.
I wish I was kidding (warning: there are dead animals being relieved of their fur at the beginning of the video):
Important question though: have you been? I feel this is the sort of thing that should be observed once. This came on my radar in the last few years when I saw a picture of a beauty queen in a bikini standing over a carcass in the paper. Some things you can’t unsee.
Of course. Twice. The first time, we planned poorly and had to leave before the main event (the skinning contest), so of course I had to try again.
It was a major scandal a few years ago when a non-Delmarva-native friend entered, and won the muskrat cooking contest with a muskrat pot pie. He’s entered a couple more times since then with similar success, and people seem to have calmed down.