Wednesday, December 26, 2012

What do La Befana, Santa Claus, & Bronco Bama all have in common?

The answer is that they were all named by children. La Befana derives from l'epifania which means The Epiphany in Italian. The story is Italian folklore, and tells of an old woman who was visited by the Three Wise Men on their way to Bethlehem. She declined to go along when invited, but later changed her mind and now spends eternity seeking the Christ child. She is/was the traditional Italian Santa Claus, bringing gifts to good children on the evening of January 5th, the night before the Feast Of The Epiphany. Here is her story in a little video I made to accompany the vinyl LP I knew as a child:

There has been some hand wringing that American-style Halloween has co-opted La Befana's image:

La Befana was obsessed with sweeping, which explains the broomstick. Now I'm wondering where/how the Halloween witch/broomstick came into popular American culture. Anybody?

Santa Claus needs no introduction -- his name derived from Dutch as Sinterklaas which itself came from Saint Nikolaas. Dutch children believe that Sinterklaas brings gifts on December 5th, the night before St. Nicholas Day. If you say Saint Nicholas very quickly as a child might do, you get to Santa Claus. Curiously, the traditional Saint Nick was a rather slender individual and wore blue rather than red. Did Coca-Cola intentionally rebrand him as an obese flyover state type? Recall that red used to be the Democrat (Deep South) color.

"Bronco Bama" of course was coined by a six-year old during the 2012 Presidential election; I draw no intentional similarities between Barack Obama, La Befana, and Santa Claus.


  1. I draw no intentional similarities between Barack Obama, La Befana, and Santa Claus.

    I take it you do not have an EBT card. You can be naughty or nice, it does not matter--provided you do as you are told. Tammany used to do the same with buckets of coal and a hint where and how you should vote.

  2. OMG! I remember this exact album from my childhood, 60 years ago! I don't know what inspired me to do a web search for 'The Legend of La Befana', but when I did your page was one of the first to come up. I have not heard this album since my childhood, but as soon as it started, I knew I had found what I had looked for. Thanks so much for posting this! I know it seems ridiculous to have such an attachment to an old LP, but this has made my day!