Saint Ambrose in Milan: let’s go everybody to the traditional “Oh Bej Oh Bej” fair!

Oh Bej Oh Bej fairOn the 7th of  December, even the frenetic Milan stops every year to celebrate its patron saint: Saint Ambrose, who was its bishop in Medioeval times.

This is a real “holy” event, not only for its religious nature, but especially because the citizens of Milan are really envolved in it! In particular they woudn’t miss for any reason the “Oh Bej Oh Bej” fair, which traditionally takes place exactly in the period of the patron saint’s celebrations, and this year from 5th to 8th of December.

This is one of the most ancient events in Milan. The legend tells that its strange name “Oh Bej Oh Bej” comes from children’s astonished exclamations (the expression, in fact, means something like “Oh how great, how great!”), amazed by the wonderful presents given to the city by the Pope Pio IV in 1510 . The fair is still the reign of surprises for children and for adults as well, thanks to more than 400 stalls full of every kind of objects and to an overwhelming atmosphere of feast.

Traditionally, here people buy Christmas decorations, eat hot chestnuts and drink “vin brulè” (hot spiced wine), perfect against the ice-cold of Milan.

In the past, the fair was settled in the sorroundings of the medioeval Basilica of Saint Ambrose, one of the most ancient churches in Milan, which was erected in 379.
Some years ago the location of the event was changed, because of the overcrowding of the alleys near to the church, which was dangerous for visitors. Now it takes place inside the huge Castello Sforzesco and in the near Parco Sempione.

But Saint Ambrose doesn’t mean only holy celebrations and fair. The attachment of the city to this occasion is so great that 7th December is also the day traditionally chosen for the official opening of the opera season at La Scala theatre, a very elegant and exclusive premiere to which all the Milanese high society always attended!

A new kind of Christmas shopping in Milan, during the holidays for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (celebrated in Italy on the 8th of December)…with Saint Ambrose’s fair, but also with “L’artigiano in fiera“, an event dedicated to crafts work (fair exhibition center of Rho).
To get all the information that you need to plan your week-end in Milan, please visit!

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