13 Unusual Holiday Traditions From Around the World (12/14)

Bored with your own holiday traditions? Check out these playful, heartwarming and downright strange Christmas customs from around the globe.

11. Italy's Befana

11. Italy’s Befana

Don’t waste your time asking Santa Claus for presents on Christmas Eve in Italy. An ugly yet kind old witch named Befana (‘giver of gifts’) controls the gift-giving duties instead. As per tradition on the eve of Epiphany – January 5 – obliging parents leave out a plate of regional cuisine (often broccoli with spiced sausage and a glass of wine) for Befana. Flying around the world by broomstick and entering each house by chimney, the good witch delivers toys, clothing and candy to well-behaved children. Come the morning of January 6, happy faces awake to a bounty of treats tucked into their stockings.

(Photo courtesy of Daniele Muscetta/Flickr)

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