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Lake Angels and the Mayor build their Pyramid Fire

The Lake Angels first started building these pyramid fires a decade ago - now they have become the traditional method of keeping people warm in the piazza during the Befana celebrations

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Usually, when you build a fire, you have to maintain it. Whether that means fanning the flames, adding more wood and keeping it safe from moisture, especially during rainy weather.

That’s where self-sufficient fire building methods come in handy, like the pyramid fire.

Made from stacked logs, kindling and tinder, the pyramid fire can be left alone to burn for many hours making it an ideal fire for when you’ve got other things to do.

In other words, the perfect fire for the Lake Angels and the Befana celebrations in Barga Vecchia tomorrow.

The Feast of the Epiphany, celebrated January 6 with a national holiday in Italy, and the tradition of La Befana are a big part of Italian Christmas celebrations. Epiphany commemorates the 12th day of Christmas when the three Wise Men arrived at the manger bearing gifts for Baby Jesus. The traditional Christmas holiday season in Italy lasts through Epiphany.

Italy’s traditional celebration includes the tale of a witch known as La Befana who arrives on her broomstick during the night of January 5 and fills the stockings with toys and sweets for the good children and lumps of coal for the bad ones.

The Lake Angels were out in force today in Piazza Angelio building their now traditional Pyramid Log Fire and this time with the help of the Mayor of Barga, Caterina Campani.

The Lake Angels first started building these pyramid fires a decade ago – article here – then the polemic and arguments about the dangers of what appeared to be a huge 3 m tall fire in the middle of Piazza went on daily for weeks with people taking sides on the dangers or not of this endeavour.

The Lake Angels smiled sweetly and just carried on. When it was built it turned out to be a good deal smaller than expected but still a quite large wooden pyramid was set up in the middle of the piazza.

The innovation came not just from the shape but also the position of where the fire was started – not at the base but at the top. The fire then gradually burnt down into the pyramid, the logs falling inwards and absolutely no need for any stoking or attention whatsoever.

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