Epiphany signals end of holiday season

Whereas most folks in the UK and US will start pulling down the Christmas tree and decorations once they’re over the New Year’s hangover, Italians are allowed a few more days grace as Epiphany is still to be celebrated on January 6th.

L’epifania remains a national holiday (whatever day it falls on) and many children will again be given gifts by the old lady or Befana as she flys in on the night of the 5th. The figure is similar to that of Father Christmas / Santa Claus although in more recent times the bearded male seems to have taken over much of the present giving duties. After children have hung out their stockings (ring any bells?) the Befana will traditionally leave sweets and fruits for good children or pieces of coal for the bad!
Whichever you get, for sure the old lady and Epiphany will take (or sweep) away all the holidays with her as she leaves on her broom .. L’ Epifania tutte le feste le porta via.

further reading: wikipedia (Italian)

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