January 6, 2018 11:17 am
The Italian peninsula is, needless to say, known worldwide for its rich and delicious food tradition: North to South, in every small village and province you can find many different specialities to satisfy every taste.
But this is old news, and something that you’ve heard before.
However, what you might not know is that on the 6th of January many people in Italy eat… coal.
But first, let’s take a step back. This story begins with an old witch flying across the Italian skies on the night between the 5th and the 6th of January: she’s the Befana, a lady who travels on a broomstick and stops in each home to give small gifts and sweets to children. According to the tradition, children who have been well-behaved would receive candies, chocolates and fruit, while those who had been disobedient or naughty would just receive coal.
The literal translation for ‘coal’ is carbone, and it defines thewhich is hoping he might be Christ. Today she is still wandering, looking for baby Jesus through Italy, and leaving little presents for children along the way.
- Beatrice Mencattini, Per i più cattivi: il carbone dolce, available here (consulter on January 4th, 2018)
- Luca Sessa, Calza della Befana homemade: come preparare il carbone dolce, available here (consulter on January 4th, 2018
Written by Carolina Quaranta – Schuman Trainee at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament. Completed a Master in Public and Political Communication in the University of Torino, Italy; communication specialist and journalist.
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