Epiphany in Rome: January 6 Magic Celebrations, Traditions and Folklore

Epiphany in Rome: January 6 Magic Celebrations, Traditions and Folklore

On January 6 the Catholic Church celebrates the solemnity of the Epiphany. This religious feast brings a perfect fulfillment of all the purposes of Advent. Epiphany, therefore, marks the liturgical zenith of the Advent-Christmas season. Three mysteries are encompassed in this solemnity: the adoration of the Christ Child by the Magi, the Baptism of Christ and the wedding feast at Cana.

It is customary to replace the images of the shepherds at the crib with the three kings and their gifts. Being the Epiphany, an very important Catholic holiday, Rome is an ideal place to celebrate.

And our tour of the best events taking place on January 6 will start right from the Vatican. At 10:50 a historical parade with 100 participants with ancient costumes and 20 decorated horses accompanied by a musical band and the main Italian character of Epiphany, the Befana, will pass through via della Conciliazione, following the Three Kings.

The Befana, a typical character of the Italian folklore probably originated in central Italy, and then become a nation-wide tradition, is an old woman who flies on a broomstick wearing a black shawl to deliver candies, sweets and little gifts to children throughout Italy on the night of January 5 in a similar way to Santa Claus. And the Befana’s headquarter in Rome will be Piazza Navona market with dozens of food and gift stalls and the traditional merry-go-round.

At Casina di Raffaello, in the Villa Borghese Park, Epiphany is celebrated with shows and magic trick workshops, jugglers and street artists. From 11am to 5pm. Free entrance.

Rome’s Befana Village with sweets, cotton candy, sugar coal, clowns, puppets, and lots of Befanas will be in Piazza Capecelatro (reachable by bus 46 – downtown terminal in Piazza Venezia – or bus 49 – downtown terminal in Piazza Cavour). From 3pm to 7 pm. Free entrance.

Near Rome, these are some of the most interesting Epiphany-related events. In Viterbo, shows and street theatre for kids from 4pm, accompanied by the Bersaglieri Band, while at 5pm, the tradtional Firefighters’ Befana will arrive. At 9pm, a gospel concert by the Happy Day Gospel Singer in St. Lawrence cathedral. Viterbo has good train connections with Rome: you can either take the FR1 train from Ostiense or Trastevere stations or another train from Flaminio Square (Rome-Viterbo line).

In Fiumicino, the city near Rome’s main airport, for the 13th edition of the Epiphany celebrations Befanas will ride old cars and tractors at 2:30 pm, the ugliest befana contest will take place and candies will be distributed to kids in the typical befana stockings. Fiumicino can be reached with local buses, leaving from the Cornelia underground station (line A) or Eur-Magliana underground station (line B). Timetable here

Moreover, Epiphany celebrations start on January 5 in many places. In Rome’s Zoo, kids will enter for free on the 5th. While many clubs will celebrate the Befana on the night between the 5th and the 6th, such as Rising Love, at 14, Via delle Conce, with its Pajama party, Saponeria Club – 20, Via degli Argonauti – with the Mustard Pimp and StereoHorses performances, or Radio Rock night at Circolo degli Artisti42, Via Casilina Vecchia.

January 6 also marks the start of the much-anticipated Winter sales here in Rome. Every store will be open – and probably packed with shoppers! The Winter sales will run until February 16.