La Befana – an Italian Tradition
La Befana was a tradition that I discovered while researching for a short story that appeared in a collection three years ago and was available for only a limited time - A Christmas Bauble From La Befana (retitled as Christmas Bauble). However, La Befana doesn’t visit at Christmas, but on Epiphany Eve, or January 5th, and has been doing so since the Eighth Century. There are different versions of the fable, but this is the one I chose to use in my story.
La Befana was known as the best housekeeper in her village and always kept a pleasant home. One day, after seeing the bright star in the sky, the one that announced the coming birth of Jesus, the Magi approached La Befana and asked for directions to where the Son of God could be found. She did not know but did provide the Magi shelter for the night. On the following morning when they were to continue their journey, they asked that La Befana join them. She declined because she was too busy with her housework and couldn’t make the journey. However, she later had a change of heart and tried to find the astrologers and Jesus. Unfortunately, she was unable to locate them, and to this day, she flys across the sky on her broomstick and continues to search and visits the homes of children. If they’ve been good, she fills their stockings with toys, candy, or fruit. If they’ve been bad, she leaves coal, onions, or garlic. Often she’ll also sweep the floor before she leaves.
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Christmas Bauble also became the prequel for THE WALLFLOWER'S STOCKING, which released on December 9, 2022.
Lady Gaia Evans and Lord Zachariah Radburn, Marquess Lydell first met last Christmas Eve after finding shelter from a blizzard. The most unusual part of this introduction was that it was within a brothel.
Conversation into the night led to the first buds of friendship as not only their hearts, but also their souls, took notice.
With the promise of a dance when the Season began, the two went their separate ways. Except, Lady Gaia never saw Lydell again. As London left much to be desired, Gaia slowly withdrew from the throng until she found her place among the wallflowers.
Lord Lydell did attempt to attend the Season with the one hope of courting Lady Gaia. However, the American with a suspect family history was not made welcome. Therefore, Lydell left London and put his dreams, hopes, and desires for Lady Gaia away.
That is, until they encounter the other once again at Christmastime. Will their hearts and souls take notice again or will a past keep them apart?
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Making cut-outs is a tradition in our family. My mother made cookies for as long as I can remember and when younger I did more tasting than baking. But, as the grandchildren started to come along, she always had one day where they came over and decorated their own plate of cookies. It was messy, but it was fun. The tradition has continued and even though Mom is gone, her grandchildren always pick one day to get together, so they can share the tradition with their kids.