a Christmas Legend in one act
Befana is a legendary character whose story has no end. She began as a busy homemaker who was noticed by the Three Kings on the way to find the Christ Child. She was too busy with her tasks to join them and when she finally came out with her gift for the Child, the Kings were gone, the Star was gone and she found herself doomed to forever wander the earth looking for the Christ Child. In Italy, at Epiphany, she gives gifts to children in hopes that one of them might be Him.
In this continuation of the Befana story we find her living in the city streets -homeless, without a friend, without any recognition of her past or of her mission. She is exhausted and almost despairing. The world has changed so much, not even gift-giving has any meaning or value any more.
The gifts which Befana give symbolize food (the bread), shelter (the shawl), and human joy (the gift or trinket). The latter are a collection of items often seen in traditional paintings of the Madonna and Child. Some of them are : a ball, a bird, a bunch of cherries, a top, and so on.