I have already posted in the past how, in the Italian tradition, on the night between the 5th and the 6th of January the more-or-less benevolent hag known as Befana brings little gifts to the good kids, and coal to the bad ones.
The Befana is a very old tradition, and apart from the bad press she got after being sanctioned as the Fascist Regime’s response to too-British Santa – so that in the 30s she became “Befana d’Italia” – it’s still a sort of smaller-scale Christmas in a lot of Italian families.
Traditionally, the Befana is said to bring the festivities to a close, clearing the field for the Carnival that follows.
We usually exchange gifts on this night in my house, simply because the festivity of the Befana also happened to fall on my mother’s birthday – cue to obvious jokes – and so we skipped the gift-thing on Christmas.
And now that our parents are no longer here, we’ll celebrate with a good dinner and we’ll exchange small gifts – or the promise of gifts “as soon as Amazon delivers”. Sweets, chocolate, oranges and tangerines, a watch for my brother, a few ebooks for me.
Then I will spend the night working – I have a translation that’s long overdue, and I’d also like to try and submit a two-page story to a call I received yesterday – it’s a low paying market, but it’s also a two-page, 500-words story. Why not?
It will be a fun way to take a break from the translation work.