La notte dell’Epifania

Translated title of the contribution: [Autom. eng. transl.] The night of the Epiphany

Claudio Bernardi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


[Autom. eng. transl.] The essay provides the historical-anthropological coordinates of the songs of the Star, a tradition of Val Sabbia and Upper Garda which has been experiencing a strong revival and diffusion in the Brescia valleys for some years. Groups of singers, on the night of January 5, the eve of the Epiphany, perform Christmas carols in the squares, in the courts of the villages, of the hamlets and small agglomerations of houses, featuring the Three Magi, receiving gifts, food and money in exchange destined for charity. The essay illustrates the origins of the feast of the Epiphany and its particular development in the Christian West in relation to the cycle of the Twelve Days that begins with the Nativity of Christ. The presence of a non-Christian figure such as the Befana and of unholy begging songs attest to the variegated interweaving of magical-religious rituals of pre-Christian cultures, aimed at propitiating light, warmth, fertility, life and to remove darkness, famine and death, and re-enactments through plastic representations, such as the nativity scenes, or living, such as the processions of the Magi, of the birth of Christ, the savior of humanity. The complex symbology of the Magi is analyzed, their number, their origin, their age, their gifts, their royal title, their profession. Finally, reasons, inventions and transformations of epiphanic begging songs are taken into consideration as community dramaturgy or contemporary need to create community.
Translated title of the contribution[Autom. eng. transl.] The night of the Epiphany
Original languageItalian
Title of host publicationLa Stella del bresciano. I canti di questua epifanici nel territorio della Valle Sabbia e dell’Alto Garda
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Canti di questua
  • Epifania
  • Feste popolari
  • Sacre rappresentazioni
  • Teatro di comunità


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