Monday, December 7, 2015

Holiday Season in Italy: "Oh Bej! Oh Bej!" in Milan

(credit: Vita da Mamma)

Natale or Christmas season is a busy, festive time in Italy. It's a time of celebrations, decorations, religious services, gifts, and food. Each region and town has its own special way of celebrating Natale and enjoying the season. What a wonderful time of year to visit Italy and buy some beautiful and unique gifts while there!

In Milan, December 7th is the annual celebration of the city's patron saint, Sant'Ambrogio. Religious celebrations in honor of the saint take place all over the city, but especially at the Basilica di Sant’Ambrogio. 

(credit: Panoramio)

AND - The most important fair of the year, "Oh bej! Oh bej!" ("Oh beautiful! Oh beautiful!" - pronounced "O-bay! O-bay!"), coincides with the celebration of the saint's day. 

(credit: Milan Today)

The festival takes place in and around the Sforza Castle and where you will find over 400 merchant stalls just begging for a look.  

(credit: Girando il Mondo)

Happy holiday shoppers stroll the stalls eyeing the many handmade crafts, flowers, toys, ornaments, bric-a-brac, antiques, clothes and (of course) a variety of FOODS - cured meats, cheeses, sweets, wines and more. Music and the aroma of roasting chestnuts fill the air.

Watch a video of "Oh bej! Oh bej!"

What a wonderful way to start out the holiday season!

- Nina Spitzer

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