La Befana: Italian Witch Who Brings Nice Presents or Coal and Existed Long Before Santa Claus

This is a very cute retelling of the story of la Befana, the Italian witch who rewards and punishes children around Christmas time in Italy. In the following video, you will see a portrayal of her and hear her tell the story of how she became involved in the Christmas story when the Magi (three wealthy occultists, skilled in astrology and probably botany and alchemy based on the gifts they allegedly bore) passed through her town on the way to Bethlehem.

So, the original “Santa Claus” was a woman. Of course! Who else would do so much for so many with no expectation of being paid?!

Below is another fun video showing the annual Krampus parade in Munich, Germany this year. Krampus is the companion of St. Nicholas, patron saint of children, whose likeness you will, also, see in the parade. While St. Nicholas rewards good children, Krampus punishes them by putting coal in their shoes and maybe a little hair-pulling or, at least, hair messing-up, as we see them doing to bystanders in this parade.

The following video is from the New York Times and gives a better explanation in English of Krampus and the annual Krampus Lauf (Lauf translates to “run”), which takes place in Bavaria.

Krampus is an old tradition in some of the German-speaking lands and one of the many reasons why European heritage is worth preserving – something to remember right now when these people are very much under assault!

Happy Yuletide!