It’s Easter Epiphany, Mrs. Befana gave us the pastiera

Maria Beatrice Crisci

– La Befana, the children’s party par excellence, is dedicated to sweets as well as gifts. The surprise is that among candies and chocolates there is also pastiera. Well, the queen of the Neapolitan pastry tradition also invades Epiphany with her unmistakable scent. The origin of this Campania gastronomic ritual is linked to the first Easter which for the Christian religion coincides with the arrival of the Magi. In the calendar, Easter Epiphany is celebrated on January 6, which means a pre-announcement of Easter. For the Church it’s a very important holiday as it remembers the manifestation of the child God.

In Caserta as in Naples, on the day of the Epiphany the first pastiera of the year is tasted. Yes, just the classic pastiera, the wheat and cream-based dessert usually associated with Easter. This tradition does not leave the chef from Caserta indifferent Peppe Daddio. It is he who with the pastry chef Aniello di Caprio he leads the Dolce & Salato school in Maddaloni, a point of reference in the area for more than twenty years. Daddio is also a well-known television face. His interventions are frequent on the Rai «Unomattina» broadcast, where in these days he is presenting the typical Christmas sweets of the Neapolitan tradition. His words: «La Befana is not only a children’s party but a ritual to greet the Christmas holidays. On this day, as the Campanian recurrence dictates, the times are anticipated with the production of the pastiera, the cult sweet of the Neapolitan pastry wanted by the siren Partenope. It is precisely the day of the Epiphany that dictates the decalogue of the cuisine of desserts in all regions of our country. And here in Campania pastiera is offered together with coal and the typical sock of delicacies preferred by the little ones, perhaps even by adults». So, is the correlation between Epiphany and Easter true? “Of course! In Greek “epipháneia” means “apparition” or “revelation”. This is why according to Campania tradition, the first pastiera of the year is eaten on January 6, because the first Easter for the Christian religion coincides with the arrival of the Kings. But the Befana not only brings the pastiera, but combines with another classic of the repertoire of Neapolitan artisan desserts, namely struffoli. Indeed, in Casal di Principe tradition has it that the struffoli dress the classic pastiera, thus creating a cake, the pastiera dressed in struffoli».

The pastiera, therefore, accompanies the Epiphany and announces the transition towards Easter, which is precisely the transition. There is in everyone the desire to move towards a new life, similar to the old one, but which will still have a different approach, determined by this suspended time. On the other hand, the pastiera with its ingredients symbolizes the renewal of life. White ricotta is a symbol of purity. Wheat and eggs are, on the other hand, symbols of new life. The flour is then obtained from the wheat, with which bread is prepared, a reference to the Eucharist.

It’s Easter Epiphany, Mrs. Befana gave us the pastiera – Ondaweb TV