Today is Saint Lucy!
The tradition says that Saint Lucy will bring toys to kids during the night between the 12th and 13th of December, but not everyone will get them. Only in certain part of Italy we have Saint Lucy, for example the main cities of Rome or Milan, don’t have her.
Traditionally a bouquet of hay is put outside of the house for Lucy’s Donkey and food in the house for Lucy to refresh them after the long night bringing gift to every kid. In small towns, a parade with Saint Lucy is held the evening of the 12th when she goes through the main streets of the town launching sweets and candies from her cart, always together with her donkey.
For kids who celebrate her, she is very important sometimes more important than Santa Claus. Usually Lucy visits parents and grandparents’ house and only kids get gift. Other relatives and among adults the gift exchange is on Christmas as for tradition.
During December a statue of Lucy is put in the church and when I was young I was scared out of my mind because the statue has a plate in her hands where her eyes are placed. Moreover on December 12th a bell was rang in schools and in my condo by a neighbor and that too scared me out of my mind (I was a very impressionable child). I was so scared of her that I went rarely to her parade.
If you want to know more about Saint Lucia here a link.