Who Is The Gift Giver In Italy

Who Is The Gift Giver In Italy? Answered

Last Updated on April 22, 2024 by Kimberlee Johnson

In Italy, the act of giving gifts holds a significant place, deeply revered as a method of strengthening ties, with numerous traditions and customs ingrained around this activity. The considerable importance Italians attribute to the practice of gift-giving neatly encapsulates their earnestness and thoughtfulness.

But who is the gift giver in Italy?

This blog post will explore the fascinating world of Italian gift-giving.

Who Is Giving The Gifts In Italy?

La Befana witch figurine

La Befana is a benevolent witch who brings gifts to children throughout Italy on the eve of the Epiphany. Her name derives from the Italian word for Epiphany, “La Befana.” 

According to legend, La Befana was visited by the three Wise Men on their way to the baby Jesus. They invited her to join them, but she declined, saying she first needed to finish cleaning her house. 

By the time she was finished, they were long gone. She set out to find them but never could. As a result, she roams the earth on Epiphany Eve, delivering gifts to all the good children in hopes of finding Baby Jesus. 

La Befana is often depicted as an older woman riding a broomstick and carrying a sack of toys. She leaves candy, and other goodies in children’s stockings, much like Santa Claus does in other parts of the world. 

While her origins are unclear, her story has been told for centuries, and she remains a beloved figure in Italian culture.

Read: When Do Grandparents Stop Giving Gifts To Grandchildren?

What Are The Gift Giving Traditions In Italy?

In Italy, gift-giving is often associated with special occasions like Christmas, birthdays, and anniversaries.

However, several traditions involve giving gifts on specific days throughout the year. 

For example, on Epiphany (January 6th), exchanging gifts with family and friends is customary. This tradition dates back to the three wise men who brought gifts to baby Jesus on the 12th day of Christmas. 

Similarly, on Easter Sunday, it is common for people to give each other chocolate eggs or other small treats.

Another common tradition is the exchange of panettone; a sweet bread typically served around Christmas. 

In addition, it is also common to give gifts of wine or other alcohol, as well as chocolates or other sweet treats. Whatever the gift, it is sure to be appreciated by your Italian friends and family. But how many gifts should a child receive for Christmas?

Gift Giving: What Is Considered Rude In Italy?

bunch of presents

Some gift-giving customs should be avoided, as they are considered rude. 

For example, extravagant gifts are often seen as a way of showing off, and they can make the recipient feel uncomfortable. 

It is also considered impolite to give a second-hand or low-quality gift. 

In addition, it is best to avoid giving gifts that are too personal, such as clothing or jewelry. 

Lastly, it is important to remember that Italians prefer to open gifts in front of the person who gave them, so it is best not to wrap the gift in advance. But when should we put gifts under the Christmas tree?

Who is Santa Claus in Italy?

In Italy, the figure of Santa Claus is known as Babbo Natale [1]. 

Unlike in America, where Santa is usually portrayed as a jolly older man with a white beard, Babbo Natale is depicted as a stately bishop wearing red robes. 

According to legend, Babbo Natale was born in Patara, Turkey, and later moved to Myra, where he became known for his generosity. He once saved three poor sisters from being sold into slavery by giving them dowries so they could marry. 

Eventually, Saint Nicholas became the patron saint of children and sailors. In Italy, children traditionally leave their shoes out on December 5th, the eve of St. Nicholas Day.

The following morning, they find their shoes filled with sweets and small gifts. But when do families exchange gifts in Colombia?


Do Italians believe in Santa?

Most Italians believe in Santa, but some don’t. It depends on the family’s religious background and culture. 

Some families celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday, while others see it as a cultural event. Either way, most Italians enjoy the Christmas season with lots of food, friends, and family.

What is the main day for gift-giving in Italy?

The main day for gift-giving in Italy is Christmas. Italians typically give each other gifts on Christmas Day, as well as on Epiphany (January 6th), which is the day that marks the end of the Christmas season.

How are gifts exchanged in Italy?

In Italy, giving a gift wrapped in white paper is considered bad luck. It is believed that the receiver will have only one year of good luck. Gifts are typically wrapped in colorful paper or placed in a nice box.

When giving a gift, it is customary to hand the gift to the recipient with both hands and say “Per la tua festa” which means “For your party.” The recipient then says “Grazie” which means “Thank you.”

But how do you say Happy Valentine’s Day in different languages?

What is the best gift to give an Italian?

Some of the best gifts to give an Italian include food such as cheese, wine, or pasta. Alternatively, you could give them a kitchen appliance or something related to the culinary arts.

Whatever you do, make sure it is something that they will enjoy and be able to use.

Key Takeaways

Per tradition, gifts in Italy are given on Epiphany, not Christmas. 

La Befana is an older woman who delivers presents to children on the night of January 5th. She fills their stockings with candy and coal, depending on whether they are naughty or nice. 

Though the origin of this Italian legend is unknown, it continues to delight children across the country every year. 

If you find yourself in Italy during Christmastime, don’t be alarmed if there are no wrapped presents under the tree.


Kimberlee Johnson
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