16 December 2012

LIFE: Christmas in Milan

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.

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
 Happy Holidays

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