SARONNO, Italy - The Christmas lights may go up, the stores may decorate with fancy trees and put nativity crèches in their windows in late November, but the holiday season in Milan doesn’t officially start until December 7th when the city celebrates the feast of its patron saint, Sant’Ambrogio.
|Patron Saint of Milan, Saint Ambrogio|
December 7th also marks the opening of the Oh Bei, Oh Bei, a festive street fair that’s been around since 1288. Hundreds of local artisans set up tables in the area around the Castello Sforezco to sell everything from hand knitted scarves and sweaters to jewelry, toys and gastronomic delights, including roasted chestnuts and hot cups of mulled wine. It’s one of the biggest street fairs in Italy and an event no self-respecting Milanese would ever dream of missing.
There’s more food (and lots of it, plus everything else) at the Artiginato in Fiera, a massive fair held at Milan’s newest fair ground, the Fiera di Rho. The Artiginato in Fiera is a multi-cultural event with artisans coming from as far away as South America and China to participate. It showcases the workmanship and traditions of hand crafted goods that have been passed down from generation to generation, the one-of-a-kind crafts you would only see at a local fair.
As there are times when pictures speak louder than words, here are some photos of the both the Oh Bei, Oh Bei and the Artiginato in Fiera. A sure fire way of getting into that happy Christmas spirit.
First up are photos from Milan's Oh Bei, Oh Bei (which actually means 'How Beautiful, How Beautiful in Milanese dialect). The photos are all from the Corriere della Sera.
OH BEI, OH BEI
|Not Your Everyday Street Fair|
|It's a Walk in the Park with Benefits|
|So Much to Chose From|
|Is That Santa Up There?|
|Look, There are his Elves!|
|Round and Round the Castle We Go|
On to the Artiginato in Fiera
|With a Little Music|
|A Little More Music and Some Polenta|
|And Some Cookies|
|And a Very Big Pot of Something That Smells Delicious|
|A little Salami from Piedmont|
|A Lot of Sicilian Delights|
|The Boss Says Try One of These|
|And Some of These Too|
|Hail, Hail the Gangs All Here|
|Now That's What I Call Bread|
|Hey, What About These Babies|
|And Don't Forget the Christmas Cake|