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La Befana

By January 02, 2015 , , , , , , , , , ,

Italian children enjoy even more gifts and not just from Santa Claus!
Enter La Befana: The Christmas Witch!

Italian Christmas traditions don't end on Christmas Day! In just a few days, it will be the celebration of the Epiphany. Before that, however, Italian children wait in anticipation for the eve of the Epiphany on January 5th, and they have to be very well behaved indeed!

On the eve of the Epiphany, La Befana flies on her broomstick delivering gifts to the stockings of good children and coal to the naughty ones. She is the Christmas witch! 

According to Southern Italian folklore, La Befana is an old woman whose house was visited by the three Magi. They asked her for directions on their journey to the Baby Jesus and invited her to join them. She declined, claiming she had too much housework. After they had gone, she changed her mind and left her home in search of the Magi, but it was too late. She couldn't find them and did not find her way to the manger. Now she flies on her broom the night before the Epiphany delivering candy and gifts or coal to children's stockings. 

That at least, is one version of the story. Read more about the stories and history behind La Befana.

(Image via Pixabay)

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