On the night of 5 to 6 January, La Befana flies with a bag full of toys, chocolates and sweets over the Italian rooftops and goes down the chimney.
She fills the usually beautifully decorated socks of the children with presents.
At the bottom of her pocket she has a good dose of ash and coal, these are for the kids who were a little naughty last year.
The children put a tangerine or orange and a nice glass of wine by the chimney for La Befana
Originally, the Befana was the symbol of the past year. The gifts the old lady gave were auspicious symbols for the year to begin.
According to Christian tradition legend, La Befana was the fourth sage who should have been present at the birth of Christ. Due to time constraints, she decided not to join the 3 Wise Men who had invited her to join the long journey to Bethlehem. Once the wise men had left, she decided, because she regretted a little, to go looking for the baby after all. She went on a trip and knocked on every door and gave each child a sweet in the hope that one of them was the baby Jesus.
She does that to this day, to the delight of all Italian children of course.
La Befana vien di notte con le scarpe tutte rotten col vestito alla romana, Viva, viva la Befana!