The Christmas Witch

Buon Natale a tutti!

My non-Italian readers may find the above picture to be strangely out-of-place during the Holiday season. It seems more like a Halloween thing rather than a Christmas one, doesn’t it?

Well, this witch with a heart of gold is very Christmasy in Italy. Her name is La Befana (or “Beffy” as I like to call her). She flies around on her broomstick and fills the stockings of ย little boys and girls on the night of January 5th for the Christian holiday called Epiphany on the 6th. She gives candy and small toys to good children and coal to bad ones, just like Santa Claus does in America.

In the USA we have Santa that does both presents under the tree and the stockings while Italians have Babbo Natale (Santa Clause in Italian) for Christmas presents under the tree and La Befana for the stockings at the beginning of January.

Apparently, Italian Santa Claus was too busy enjoying “la bella vita” to get around to taking care of stockings, so he enlisted the help of the good witch.

Personally, I think it’s kind of cool to have the gifts split up between two different holidays that are close together. Getting presents on multiple days is sort of like a mini Hanukkah!

Well, I hope you’ve all been good this year or Beffy will be leaving you a lump of coal. If you’re lucky, maybe she’ll give you some candy coal instead of the real thing!

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17 thoughts on “The Christmas Witch

  1. Ha! Based on my most recent post (titled “Making a List. Checking it Twice. Gonna Find Out Whom Iโ€™d Like to Poison with Cyanide-Laced Egg Nogโ€ฆ”), I think I know one or two people I could “gift” with coal from Beffy!

    Love it — it’s like a Christmas/Halloween mash-up!

    Merry Christmas, Garrett… ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Try throwing a December 29th birthday in the mix and you can really ‘bridge’ the two events.

  3. As a Muslim country, Turks don’t celebrate Christmas but you’d never know by the aisles of yuletide goodies in the shops. Not wishing to miss out on all the fun,Turks have appropriated Christmas traditions and grafted them on to New Year!

    Happy holidays

      • No, I don’t ๐Ÿ™‚ I think I lost my ability to survive in the cold weather and I was perfectly happy with New Year’s Eve in Abu Dhabi sunbathing and watching the Coldplay concert! Happy New Year.

  4. This is such a great post! I have had trouble trying to explain to people in London that, in Italy, the 6th January is the ‘Befana’s day’. Even showing them Googled images of the old witch, they had no clue about her! They made fun of me thinking I was making it all up! Quite funny!

    I recently wrote a post on my blog (published also on as a guest post on another blog) which I think you will find funny: http://wp.me/p12zme-bR

    • Thanks a lot! Well, the Befana is a pretty weird concept for non-Italians. I mean, witches aren’t generally associated with Christmas.

      I checked our your post too. Good one! Italians are always so very … well … Italian when they travel (especially in groups!)

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