As we continue are evening reading routine, my eldest took out from the school library a book about Christmas all around the world. As you may tell from my previous posts, we have been in quite the Christmas spirits. We started early and it has been a blissful Holiday Marathon. Last night we read another story from the book; we have discovered some interesting Christmas traditions. I thought I might share some of the wonderful stories. The girls are quit engaged in this book and are really enjoying it (so am I) The Book is ‘Christmas around the world’ by Astrid Anand.
We start with the story of La Befana…
In Italy, Children leave out their shoes by the chimney before going to bed in hopes that Befana will come by at night filling their shoes with presents.
Her Legend recalls for us the nativity and the coming of the three kings.
Story is that on the night the three kings ventured out to seek the baby king, they stopped by the house of Befana on their way to Bethlehem. Befana was asked to accompany the three kings on their journey but being to busy with her cleaning duties she told the three kings to go ahead without her and she would later join them. Ever since then, on Epiphany night, Befana is believed to fly from house to house on a broomstick with a sack of toys on her back.
Flying in and out of chimneys, she leaves presents/gifts in shoes; in case one of the sleeping children is the Christ child.
This same tale is told in Russia about an old women Babushka who roams the world in search of baby Jesus leaving gifts and toys.
In Italian Happy/Merry Christmas is ‘Buon Natale’ and in Sicilian it’s ‘Bon Natali’