Kenosha’s I-A Club hosting Brunch with Befana Jan. 8; Epiphany Eve tradition

The Kenosha Italian American Club, 2217 52nd St., is hosting a Brunch with Befana on Jan. 8.

The event, from 10 am to 1 pm that Sunday, is hosted by the Italian American Ladies Auxiliary.

The buffet meal includes a frittata, ham, fruit, French toast croissants, juice, milk and coffee.

The cost is $15 for adults and $8 for children (8 and younger). In addition, there will be a bake sale, gift basket raffles, a 50/50 raffle and children’s activities.

Also during the brunch, Befana will hand out gift bags to children at 11 am and noon.

In Italian folklore, Befana is an old woman who delivers gifts to children throughout Italy on Epiphany Eve (the night of Jan. 5).

Legend has it that Befana visits all the children of Italy on the eve of the Feast of the Epiphany to fill their socks with candy and presents if they are good, or a lump of coal or dark candy if they are bad.

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Being a good housekeeper, many say she will sweep the floor before she leaves. To some, the sweeping means the sweeping away of the problems of the year. Families often leave out a small glass of wine and a plate with a few morsels of food for Befana.

She is usually portrayed as a hag riding a broomstick through the air wearing a black shawl and is covered in soot because she enters the children’s houses through the chimney. She is often smiling and carries a bag or hamper filled with candy and gifts.

Christian legend hath it that Befana was approached by the Three Wise Men a few days before the birth of Jesus. They asked for directions to where the Son of God was, as they had seen his star in the sky, but they did not know. She provided them with shelter for a night, and the magi then invited her to join them on the journey to find the baby Jesus. She declined, stating she was too busy with her housework. Later, Befana had a change of heart and tried to search out the astrologers and Jesus.

She was not able to find them, so to this day, Befana is searching for the little baby.

Call 262-914-0333 for tickets or go to the IA Club.

All proceeds will go to the Italian American Ladies Auxiliary’s scholarship fund. The group has given out more than $2,000 to local charities in 2022.

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