I’m taking part in a fab ‘coastal Christmas blog hop’ with 22 other authors. Daily posts have been going up since December 1 with your chance to win the grand prize of a $150 Amazon gift card. Nice! (Enter via the Rafflecopter link at the end.) Or go into the running for a fab new beach read by commenting at each blog stop — including this one ;) Make sure to check out the posts before mine (by Kris Pearson) and after (by Bree Verity).
For my turn in the hot-seat, I thought I’d talk about an Italian festive tradition – being of Italian background myself. And...
Did you know that, rather than Father Christmas, the Italians have their own Christmas witch, dubbed La Befana? She delivers gifts to kidlets throughout Italy on Epiphany Eve (the night of January 5). I remember too, as a kid, my nonna – or grandma – having a rather scary-looking witch figurine hanging on the back of a door, complete with flashing eyes, straggly hair and a green-tinged face.
Folklore says Befana will fill young ones’ socks with lollies and presents if they’ve been good, or a lump of coal, a stick or dark candy if they’ve been bad. But unlike Santa, who’ll just hoover up whatever beer and snacks you’ve left for him, Befana is the ultimate houseguest. As well as offering gifts, it’s said she’ll sweep the floor before she leaves too. Which has also been interpreted to mean ‘sweeping away the problems of the year’. (And she’d much rather you leave a small glass of vino, along with any food morsels, in return…)
Befana’s in pretty desperate need of a makeover as she’s usually portrayed as a broomstick-riding ‘hag’, with a penchant for black shawls and soot (like Santa, she enters the houses via the chimneys). But her kilometre-wide smile more than makes up for any detractions.
She also happens to have inspired my current work-in-progress, featuring a witchy heroine!
There are no witches, however, in my latest title out, Run for the Hills (Escape Publishing). It surrounds a runaway bride in a small hilltop town. To win an ebook copy, I’d love to know – do you have any ‘cultural’ festive traditions you follow, Aussie or otherwise? Comment below to win!