According to the legend, the night before the Wise Men arrived at the manger they stopped at the shack of an old woman to ask directions. They invited her to come along but she replied that she was too busy. Then a shepherd asked her to join him but again she refused. Later that night, she saw a great light in the sky and decided to join the Wise Men and the shepherd bearing gifts that had belonged to her child who had died. Having no means of transportation, she wept on her broom. Her sincere tears brought her broom to life, and she flew off in search of the men. She got lost and never found the manger.
Thinking of the opportunity she had missed the old woman stopped every child to give them a small treat in hopes that one was the Christ child. Each year on the eve of the Epiphany she sets out looking for the baby Jesus. The legend continued to include children, who misbehaved, would be given a lump of coal in their bag.
Sound familiar? This was obviously way before Santa, corporate Christmas' and shopping to ensure end-of-year profits for department stores.
Yesterday, Paola and Franco and us students packed bags of candy that also included a lump of coal. Sort of covering all the bases, just in case. At the local school, children lined up to receive there bags of candy from the witch Bafana. If you look closely at the child, she is about to cry out for mamma to get her outta there. I don't blame her.