Honestly, I hadn't planned on writing about the photos, but today's just tickled my fancy so much. It's the calza della Befana più lunga del mondo -- that is to say, the longest stocking in the world to put out for the Befana.
I love la Befana. I love Epiphany. More than Christmas, than New Year's, than my birthday, more than anything else, I love Epiphany, and I would love to be Italian so that I could put out my stocking for the Befana and hope she would fill it with sweeties, and not coal (honestly, I've been good!)
The legend is that the Three Wise Men, looking for the Christ child, went knocking on doors to see if they could get directions.
(There's a joke in there somewhere, I just know it...)
Anyhoo -- at one of the houses an old woman with a broom opened the door, but she had No Idea how to find the Christ child. The Magi invited her to go along with them, but she refused, saying she had too much housework to do, and leave it to men to wander about aimlessly in Italy when they should have been in the Middle East, and disturbing hardworking women who never got a hand around the house from their husbands.
Or something like that.
However, she later regretted it, and tried to catch them up afterwards, but couldn't find them (this was before the invention of GPS). But every year, on the eve of Epiphany (that would be tomorrow evening, by the by), she sets out once more in search of the baby Jesus. And because she can't be sure just which child is him, she leaves a sweetie in their stocking Just In Case. If they're good -- if they were bad, they get a Lump o' Coal (tm).
So there I was this morning, knitting and watching Piazza Grande, a kind of kitschy low-budget show carried on Rai International. "Piazza Grande" sort of means "main square", and the show is set up like a town square -- you have little tables with chairs and lots of extras who sit around and look interested. You have the newspaper kiosque (and they talk about news of the day). There's a bazaar (where you can win prizes). There's the Friend of the Piazza who comes on to give advice and answer questions. There's my favourite astrologer, Paulo Fox.
And this morning, there was the World Record Stocking -- the longest stocking for the Befana in the world, along with 75 befane (befanas).
The stats: the calza is more than 52,3 metres long, weighs 300 kilos, and was carried by 100 Befanas.
But this calza is more than just a world record holder -- it's part of an effort to raise money in order to provide kids who couldn't otherwise have one with their very own stocking filled with sweeties -- 800 of these stockings will be distributed (one presumes by the volunteer Befanas).
Now, you'll notice that the calza is not knit -- it's made of fabric. However, the cameraman scanned the line of Befanas, and although there were a lot of fabric and woven and crochet shawls, there were a goodly number of knitted ones as well. And then there were these:
That's the host of Piazza Grande, Giancarlo Magalli, alongside several Befanas wearing colourful, knit capelets. There were a goodly number of the Befanas wearing knit capelets.
So the moral of the story is, always be good so you get a sweetie from La Befana, and you just never know where knitting is going to turn up.