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Epiphany in Italy

Epiphany is celebrated in Italy on January 6 every year. This holiday is based on the story of the three wise men (or kings) offering Jesus gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Is Epiphany a Public Holiday?

Epiphany is a public holiday. It is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed.

In 2019 it falls on a Sunday. Due to this, some businesses may choose to follow Sunday opening hours.

Image of the Nativity scene, 3 wise men adoring baby Jesus.

Epiphany: a holiday that commemorates the three wise men's visit to Jesus.

©iStockphoto.com/duckycards

What Do People Do?

The Epiphany feast, known as La Befana, is an important part of the Christmas festivities in Italy. La Befana originates from a fairytale about a woman who flies on a broomstick bringing presents to children in Italy. La Befana is believed to be searching for baby Jesus, hence why she bears gifts for children. Many cities and towns in Italy organize festivities and parades to celebrate Epiphany on January 6.

Public Life

Epiphany is a public holiday in Italy. Organizations and businesses that are closed on January 6 include:

  • Government offices.
  • Post offices.
  • Banks.
  • Schools and other educational institutions.

Transport options, such as taxis, rail services between major cities and major long-route bus lines, are available on Epiphany but travelers are advised to check first with local transport authorities.

Background

Epiphany commemorates the first two occasions on which Jesus’ divinity, according to Christian belief, was manifested: when the three kings (also known as wise men or Magi) visited infant Jesus in Bethlehem, and when John the Baptist baptized him in the River Jordan.

Symbols

In Italy, La Befana is loved as much as Santa Claus. She is usually portrayed as an old woman who wears a black shawl and rides a broomstick. Figures of this character are sold in shops in Italy around January 6.

About Epiphany in other countries

Read more about Epiphany.

Epiphany Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday Type
2015TueJan 6EpiphanyNational holiday
2016WedJan 6EpiphanyNational holiday
2017FriJan 6EpiphanyNational holiday
2018SatJan 6EpiphanyNational holiday
2019SunJan 6EpiphanyNational holiday
2020MonJan 6EpiphanyNational holiday
2021WedJan 6EpiphanyNational holiday
2022ThuJan 6EpiphanyNational holiday
2023FriJan 6EpiphanyNational holiday
2024SatJan 6EpiphanyNational holiday
2025MonJan 6EpiphanyNational holiday

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