As children go to sleep tonight in Italy, they have the same anticipation that American children have on Christmas eve. Tonight Italian kids are expecting a visit from La Befana. When they wake up in the morning there will be sweets and treats in their stockings and maybe a gift! (Or, there might be some coal!)
This is La Befana in our home.
There is a legend that La Befana was approached by the Three Kings a few days before Christ's birth. They asked for directions to where the baby Jesus was, but she didn't know. She gave them shelter for the night. (She was considered the best housekeeper in the village with the most pleasant home.) The Three Kings invited her to join them on the journey to find the baby Jesus, but she said no because she was too busy with her housework. Later, La Befana had changed her mind, and tried to search out the Three Kings and Jesus. She was not able to find them. Even to this night, La Befana is searching for the baby Jesus. While she is searching, she leaves all the good children toys and candy, while the bad children get coal.
Stockings have been hanging in the Ambrit Rome International School atrium throughout the holiday season. When students return on January 7th they will discover that La Befana has left treats in their stockings.