Who Brings Gifts for Christmas in Italy


Gian Carlo Macchi wrote about Christmas in Italy and how the one who brings presents to children differs from region to region.  Here’s his note:

…About Christmas here in Italy I can add something. Traditionally, it is Gesù Bambino (the Child Jesus)* who gives gifts to children. But some places, for example in Bergamo (Northern Italy), it’s Santa Lucia on the night between 13 and 14 December. Some places it’s Befana, whose name comes from Epifania, i.e. Epiphany (the night between, the 5th and 6th of January. Some places, where children are lucky, it’s Santa Lucia and Gesù Bambino, or Gesù Bambino and Befana.

*In the Christmas carol "Piva piva l’oli d’uliva", in your Website, "’l è ‘Bambin che porta i belè" it’s the Child [Jesus] who brings the presents.

Thanks for sharing your traditions in Italy with us Gian Carlo!

Buon Natale!

Mama Lisa

This article was posted on Sunday, December 11th, 2011 at 10:40 am and is filed under Christmas, Christmas Eve Traditions, Countries & Cultures, Epiphany, Holidays Around the World, Italian, Italy, La Befana Day, Languages, Santa Lucia, St. Lucia's Day. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

2 Responses to “Who Brings Gifts for Christmas in Italy”

  1. B Says:

    I’m Italian and I never heard of Child Jesus bringing gifts for Christmas, I think it’s an old tradition passed away. I know young people and children from many different parts of Italy and all of them receive gifts for Christmas from Babbo Natale (Father Christmas/Santa Claus) and stockings full of candies and sweets for Epiphany Day from Befana (an old lady who is a sort of good witch). In some cities of Italy like Verona and Bergamo children receive also gifts from Santa Lucia (Saint Lucy) on 13th December (Saint Lucy Day).

  2. Alba Says:

    Hi B.
    I too am Italian, and can assure you that, when I was a child, Gesu’ Bambino brought presents to us children on Christmas night. On Christmas eve I used to leave a glass of milk and a biscuit for Gesu’ Bambino, and a carrot for his donkey. They would find these humble gifts near the crib (presepe). It may be an old tradition, but it is closer to the real meaning of CHRISTmas, il Natale del Figlio di Dio. Wishing you a happy and blessed Christmas.

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