We are in Treviso, Italy and this Saturday is Epiphany. All over town we see vendors selling stockings and socks (like we have for Christmas Eve in the United States) and we see lot of candy and what look like Halloween witches.
In Italian folklore, La Befana is an old woman who delivers gifts to children throughout Italy on Epiphany Eve (January 5th). If the children have been good, their socks are filled with candy and if they are bad they get a lump of coal. She is portrayed as a witch riding a broomstick and she is covered in soot because she delivers socks to the children through their chimneys. Children leave out a small glass of wine and food for La Befana.
She is referred to as the Christmas Witch and she is also known to sweep the floor before she rides off on her broom!