Fairy Befana: Italian Father Frost?
Each kid in Italy in the night from the fifth for January sixth cannot fall asleep. To it the disheveled old woman with a nose - a hook on the old beaten broom on a visit will surely arrive. You think that it is the character from the awful fairy tale? Well! This is the Italian fairy godmother who bears a name Befana. She drags for herself the darned bag with a heap of gifts and always walks in the worn-out boots.
Arriving on the broom at night, Befana will surely put to the child in a sock a small gift - a surprise which will bring joy and happiness. The history “tossings“ of gifts bears to the American Santa Claus very a strong resemblance: Befana flies in a flue while all sleep around, and quietly creeps to a fireplace on which in advance prepared socks hang. Children who behaved well the whole year the next morning will find nuts, sweets, chocolate and candies in the socks, and here those who were malicious - will find, alas, only coals. Fortunately, special round candies which are capable to paint language in black color are pieces of coal. As a rule, each Italian child gets several such “pieces of coal“, it is impossible to behave correctly all 365 days in a year.
In Italy there is a legend of the fairy Befana`s origin. Each child and the adult knows that she lived in Bethlehem and was a simple old woman, so far, one fine day, at her door three magicians who were looking for the road to little Jesus were not knocked. They asked the woman to carry out them, but that refused, having referred to a huge number of household chores. Magicians left, and Befana understood after a while what huge mistake she made. She jumped on the magic broom and began to look for wanderers. Since then the fairy flies about all kids in hope to find the baby Christ and to present him the gift. During the travel on the world Befana got also to Italy where so it was pleasant to her that she decided to remain.
It is interesting that the love to homework and remained with the fairy therefore, during distribution of gifts, it can clean up in the house if it was pleasant to it at this family. Very often in houses leave it on a table a delicacy. And it is not traditional paste or pizza, and an apelsinchik with a glass of red wine. The fairy Befana brings revival on streets of Italy these winter days. At the beginning of January various little shops where sell tasty chocolates, candies and other sweets everywhere open. Bazarchik, attractions work, and old women with brooms in hands wander around. With the last tourists and locals are often photographed.
In some parts of Italy on January 6 on streets burn Befana`s effigy after bright procession along all city. In spite of the fact that this event seems terrifying, actually it symbolizes leaving of old year and arrival new therefore bears only pleasure and a positive. All bad things which happened last year burn down on a fire together with an effigy. Today the fairy Befana is considered one of the kindest images in the Italian folklore. Devote it songs, verses and fairy tales.
And every year children find full socks of gifts, as well as at each magician, Befana has assistants - careful mothers and fathers...