Monday, 31 December 2012

A witch arriving in 6 days time !..More children and more traditions to celebrate ..

We all know many a story about St Nic and the many origins of Santa , so here are some other traditions..which we have adopted into our American/Italian/Spanish/German/English family LOL!

 When I was little the idea of being left a lump of coal on the 6th of January was inevitable as I knew that along with my orange and sweets and nuts for being a good girl I also would get the traditional coal If I had been naughty , I was always relieved when I had no coal. My children come home from Italy tomorrow having celebrated missed Santa and having celebrated  La Befana early as they have to be back in school on the 6th of January on our traditional day of celebration in both Italy and Spain. The similarities now are overwhelming as each culture alters the traditions to make them more appealing and to make more money, Coal is now available in an edible candy as seen above and is now almost expected in every childs stocking!

Father Christmas now hangs in the market stalls along side La Befana for sale and they even have stickers with La Befana on. The idea of the old hag flying around on her broomstick dropping sweets down the chimney into your socks along with the now more appealing edible coal is just not as appealing now that I have older children. The image of the old Shaman entering via the chimney in the snow cloaked in deep red and green also still springs to mind and we still see the red and white mushrooms to hang up as decorations too!Red and white proving to be far popular than winter greens.

 Whilst you can see the Befana is indeed often depicted as what we would recognise as a witch she has now been softened into a sweet old lady wearing warm reds carrying the gifts in her back sack - no pointy hat and no broomstick in sight on this one.. in fact she reminds me of good old St Nick!
 Meanwhile in Spain my family prepare for the wild street party which will begin with the three kings parade and lots of throwing of confetti and sweets into the crowd. The three Kings are eagerly awaited and they too bring coal to the naughty. Now in one story La Befana met the Three Kings and was asked the way by the Magi who were following the star , she regretted not going and supposedly has been delivery presents ever since , there is a more sinister version but you can look that up.
The Rosca on the left is a traditional cake for Reyes (the three kings) and in my opinion is far nicer than the grown up Christmas cake we get in the Uk and far easier to bake and decorate with the kids too . The Panettone on the right  is now pretty much available everywhere and is the Italian cake . I tend to buy ready made ones as this recipe is my favourite one to burn as I get side tracked playing with the kids lol. One thing I have learned to appreciate over the years of combining my heritage and traditions for the sake of my children is that as the decades go by the differences between them are softening around the edges and it makes it easier to combine and blend them to suit or rather large family.  For those of you celebrating Reyes or La Befana I wish you 'Felices Fiestas' xx

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