(Frosted Designs)This card is made from Joys of the Season, Stretch Your Imagination, New Arrival, and George. It's shaped like a stocking, if you can see that. It's kind of a funky woodland santa. I had a blast making it in DS.
In school today I learned a lot about Italian traditions for the holidays. And boy there were some funny ones. Mostly Christmas is the same as the U.S. holidays, but this one really made me laugh and fear:
Santa doesn't fill the stockings for the kids in Italy. Befana the witch fills the stockings. She does this at Epiphany, January 6th. The tradition is that the ugly but kind witch slips down the chimney on the night of January 5th and fills the stockings that are hung by the fireplace or by the bed with sweet things for good kids or coal for the bad kids. Now, it used to be that they used real coal for the kids, but now, Italy has this sweet coal that kids get if they've been bad kids and you can eat it. The kids who eat this coal end up with BLACK faces from chin to cheek. And they are MARKED as bad kids the whole day.
The tradition with Befana too is that she ends the holiday season. No holiday decorations should remain after Befana. She is the signal to put away all of the holiday things and to get rid of all the old things from the past year. To throw out things that are rotten or broken and put away the past year's pain and sins.
My teacher said, watch the news on the day after Befana comes because it is very macabre all the people who die. "Die? Why would people die?" Because, on Befana, people literally throw out their old things. They throw them right out the window and onto the street, irons, dishes, washing machines. You could be on the first floor having a Befana party and boom, a washing machine lands on your head. Or people have dishes flying down and cutting off hands. Needless to say, I will not be outside on the day of Befana!
On New Year's day, they light wooden puppets on fire. (to symbolize the burning of the old year and crossing into the new - burning of the fields etc.) But apparently, they will build a giant wooden puppet in the piazza and a man with a fiery arrow will shoot it at the puppet and people will rejoice and eat pancakes as they watch it burn. I can think of the little kids running and screaming now as they watch a giant Pinocchio shot with an arrow and burned up.
I'm looking forward to the celebrations that we will learn about while here. I'll be carrying a fire extinguisher and wearing a hard hat from New Year's until Befana comes.