Today in Italy is a national holiday as we celebrate the Epiphany which commemorates the 12th day of Christmas when the three Wise Men delivered the gifts to Baby Jesus.
This celebration includes the tale of a witch, 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 coal for the naughty ones.
According to the legend, the night before the Wise Men arrived at the manger they stopped at the shack of an old woman to ask directions. They invited her to come along but she replied that she was too busy. Then a shepherd asked her to join him but again she refused. Later that night, she saw a great light in the sky and decided to join the Wise Men and the shepherd bearing gifts that had belonged to her child who had died. She got lost and never found the manger.
La Befana vien di notte
Con le scarpe tutte rotte
Col vestito alla romana
Viva, Viva La Befana!
The Befana comes by night
With her shoes all tattered and torn
She comes dressed in the Roman way
Long life to the Befana!
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