No matter what country that celebrates Christmas with a figure of generosity, there is always a reward to children for good behavior. Even if it is a witch! La Befana is the witch that during the Christmas season will go house to house rewarding good children with a special treat. She was featured at the Italian venue in Epcot when we visited. Let me tell you about the legend and how she got started.
La Befana predates Santa Claus who gained recognition around WWII. La Befana dates back to the 13th century. She is pictured as an old witch lady with a large red nose, hunched back, dressed in a jacket of colorful patches and with a broom in hand. The legend says that on the 12th night of Christmas (January 5) the three wise men set out to find the baby Jesus. La Befana was asked to join them in their search but she declined. She said she had too much housework to do. Later she changed her mind and went out to find them but never did.
Every year on January 5, La Befana travels on her magic broom, still searching for the baby Jesus. She climbs down chimneys and leaves candy and fruit for the good children and coal, onions or garlic to the naughty ones. Children leave out stockings or shoes to be filled hopefully with sweet treats. After her visit of course there is feasting with family and friends.