The Befana is celebrated throughout all of Italy, and has become a national icon.
Traditionally, all Italian children may expect to find a lump of "coal" in their stockings (actually candy made black with caramel coloring), as every child has been at least occasionally bad during the year.
Piazza Navona in central Rome is the site of a popular market each year between Christmas and the Epiphany, where toys, sugar charcoal and other candies are on sale. The feast of the Befana in Rome was immortalized in the Roman dialect by the 19th century Roman poet Giuseppe Gioacchino Belli.
La Befana vien di notte
Con le scarpe tutte rotte
Col vestito alla romana
Viva, Viva La Befana!
The English translation is:
The Befana comes by night
With her shoes all tattered and torn
She comes dressed in the Roman way
Long live the Befana!
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