Befana: the gift-giving old Christmas Witch of Italian tradition who comes on the eve of January 6, the day of Epiphany (

In the effort to rehabilitate the image of older women, making them less an object of fear and disrespect, I have made Befana my own during the past ten years, celebrating her and all older women, with a women friends’ party on Befana Eve. I invite my women friends to my home and give each a small personal gift of self-care (e.g., with messages “play”—for marbles; “curl up with a good book”—fuzzy socks “relax”—face mask; “add color”—a mandala and colored pens, and so forth). I especially encourage them to rest, after the long and arduous Christmas season of endless women’s work.

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