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Traditionally the children of Italy await a visit from La Befana, hanging up their stockings on January 6, the Feast of Epiphany, rather than Christmas Eve.Although the figure of Babbo Natale (Father Christmas), with his red suit and big white beard, is becoming more widespread here, traditionally the children of Italy anxiously await a visit from another figure, La Befana, hanging up their stockings on January 6, the Feast of Epiphany, rather than Christmas Eve. A friendly, witch-like character who rides around on a broom, La Befana is often smiling and carries a sack or basket filled with candy and gifts. She is one of Italy’s oldest and most celebrated legendary figures, and, like many Italian traditions, La Befana represents a mixture of ancient folklore and Christianity. The name “Befana” is derived from the word Epifania, the Italian name for the religious festival of the Epiphany.
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