The 5th of January will be the traditional night to set witches pyres alight around Italy. The most beautiful one, which I have remembered since childhood is the pyre on the Lake Paker, between Cordovado and Sesto al Reghena, Pordenone.
This event recurs every year in the Christian celebration of Epiphany, but within the years and cultures it has taken different meanings. The most popular of these are the children's swapping of gifts and well-wishing fires.
Between the night of the 5th and the 6th of January, the old Epiphany witch will bring gifts to every child, who had previously hung an old stocking near the fireplace. The good ones will receive sweets and chocolates, the naughty one just sweet black coal.
So, awaiting the magical lady, kids are taken to this amazing show. Lake Paker is an artificial location that derives from a gravel quarry in use from 1953 to 1980. When the excavations reached a depth of 13 metres, the hole was starting to fill with water and thus, the lake was created. Nowadays you can go there to do the no-kill carps fishing, scuba diving and the Epiphany event.
A group of voluntary scuba divers will immersed themselves in the freezing waters of the lake at 8.30 pm, they will reach the straw and wood pyre (created also from the organic waste collected along the banks) set in a dedicated spot in the middle of the area and then they will set all the symbology (the pyre itself with the puppet of the witch on top and sparkling banners wishing happy new year).
While people are intent to read the smoke's direction, a witch will surface from the depth, while another one will descend from the sky throwing confetti and both giving candies to the youngest.
To follow, a pyrotechnical show begins while people are having pinza, the classic Epiphany cake, vin brule' and hot chocolate.
All the evening means a help to fundraise the humanitarian and social association Via Di Natale, which support the research against cancer in Pordenone and helps every single patient to reach an adequate care.