CHIAVARI, Italy - This week kicks off Milan’s traditional Christmas market, Oh Bej, Oh Bej. Back on December 7, 1510, when Giannetto Castiglione came to town and began handing out sweets and gifts, the kids of Milan were delighted and were calling out, “oh bej, oh bej” how beautiful. Castiglione had been sent to Milan by Pope Pius IV to help the town celebrate the feast day of their patron saint, St. Ambrose.
Almost every year since then the Oh Bej Oh Bej has opened on December 7th, and this year is no exception. The streets around Castello Sforzesco will be packed with stalls and merchandise from hundreds of local artisans selling 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 is also another fair in Milan during the holiday season, a newer fair, the Artiginato in Fiera. 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. Or so they say.
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 that will surely give you a solid dose of that happy Christmas spirit.
First up are photos of Milan's Oh Bej, Oh Bej.
AND NOW ON TO THE ARTIGINATO IN FIERA
Whew! I don't know about you, but I am all tuckered out. That's a lot of shopping for one day, so the elves and I will say goodby. Bye bye.