Old Befana: The Good Witch of the Epiphany

This is a family shadow puppet show based on a folk tale from Italy. We made the puppets out of pizza box cardboard, sticks, rubber bands and sweet wrappers.


It tells the story of a grumpy old misunderstood woman who lives on a hill by a crossroads in Italy. She spends her days sweeping, baking and singing lullabies and is most disgruntled when passersby from the nearby road mess up her nice neat front yard and bothering her asking for directions. She has a reputation for being disagreeable and some folks call her an old witch.

One night she is woken by a great shining light and she fell back to sleep dreaming of the baby she once had, but sadly lost. The next morning a curious procession make its way up the hill and knock on her door asking for directions.

“We’re going to Bethlehem. We’re going to give gifts to the baby. Won’t you come with us?

“Hmpphh” said the old lady holding her broom. “Bethlehem? I’ve never even heard of it” she said grumpily.”Go with you? I couldn’t possibly. I have all this sweeping to do, and I haven’t even finished my baking yet!”

And so basically, she has a change of heart, her own epiphany, and from that day on travels the world giving gifts to children each year on the eve of Epiphany.

We incorporated carols, an Italian lullaby and nursery rhyme (with terrible Italian accents!), we sent stockings to friends and family to invite them to join us online for the viewing the first video viewing.

Video to be uploaded shortly.

Whip-up a puppet

Looking at simple puppet making – shadow, gloves, finger, sock, banraku, rod and more.