My friend Kelly and fellow expat who also lives in Treviso pretty much summed up what tonights festivities throughout Italy consists of..
”Tonight is the night of panevin (bread and wine) it is the night when the Italians burn the old woman who looks like a witch and if the wind blows the smoke to the west it will be a bad year for farmers and to the east a good year (lots of debate if panevin is just a Veneto tradition or all over Italy, so if you know the answer to this please let me know). It is also the night when the same witch, (raises from the ashes although there is some debate about this too) comes down the chimney to leave stockings of sweets for the good children and coal for the naughty ones. On her way back up the chimney she cleans it for you. Yep you just celebrated her burning a few hours before but lets not dwell on that! The burning of the old woman represents the getting rid of all the horrible things that happened in the past year and her cleaning the chimney is ridding you of all the old hurts and bad energy.”
”I have found myself strangely finding peace in this tradition and shall raise a glass of wine (or a cup of tea) to the befana and sweep out the old…. Happy panevin everyone! x oh and I almost forgot, under the fire dug in to the ground is Pinza, a bit like Christmas cake, waiting for the fire to die and then to be dug out. yum yum!”