> ANSA English > News

Epiphany spending down amid ongoing recession

30% of Italians to give traditional stocking of sweets

03 January, 11:24
Epiphany spending down amid ongoing recession (ANSA) - Rome, January 3 - Italians will spend 66 euros per head for the January 6 Epiphany feast, traders' association Confesercenti said Friday. This is 12% down on 2013 figures as the economic crisis in recession-hit Italy continues to bite.

Total expenditure on the traditional sweet-filled stocking and other gifts is expected to be 1.45 billion euros, the same source said. This year 30% of Italians will give a stocking full of sweets, 1% up on last year, Confesercenti said. However, 54% will not be making any kind of gift, up 2% on 2013.

The tradition of Epiphany present-giving is inspired by the story of the arrival of the Three Wise Men in Bethlehem with gifts for the newborn Jesus.

In Italy the festival is also known as La Befana after the legendary old woman who delivers gifts on her broomstick.