Last Sunday was Epiphany, the day that commemorates, in the Western Christian churches, the visit of the Magi to the infant Jesus. The magi represented the “’revelation to the Gentiles’ mentioned in Luke, where the term Gentile means all non-Jewish peoples” [Wikipedia]. As in many places, there are traditional celebrations at Epiphany to mark the end of the Christmas season. Often, it is celebrated with King Cakes or something special. In Italy, La Befana (Lady Epiphany) visits children on the eve of Epiphany to deliver candies to good children and coal or dark candy for misbehaved children.
We knew it was Epiphany, but when a friend at church asked us if we knew what was happening at St. Peter’s that morning, we had no idea. She informed us that the Wise Men would arrive on horses, followed by a procession of people in period costumes from all over Italy. She said last year it started about 10:45 and she missed it because she didn’t know what time it started. So when we got home to pick up the other camera, Mike decided not to go because he thought we missed it already. Anyway, since I love a parade, I went to see what I could see! The motor traffic was clogged and being diverted from the main street leading to St. Peter’s. I could hear drums keeping up a marching tempo and people were still hurrying that direction. So I continued to Via Conciliazione, where there was indeed a parade going on! I missed the Wise Men on horses, but I saw lots of people in period costumes, flag twirlers, a Maypole, drummers, etc. By the time the La Befanas came in their limousines, throwing hard candy to the children, the memory card in the camera was full. Alas! But that was the end of the parade, so not all was lost!