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Arts & Culture Event
Piazza Sant’Ambrogio, West
The Milanese love Christmas, and start the festivities early on the feast day of the city's patron saint, Saint Ambrose, with the fair known as Oh Bej! Oh Bej! literally meaning 'So beautiful! So beautiful!'.
Mounds of coloured candy, doughnuts with sprinkles and sweet frosting, gooey sweet crepes, and mounds of cotton candy brighten up the stalls of the Milano Christmas Market, called Oh Bej! Oh Bej! The annual market characterized by sweet tastes - and the smell of roasting chestnuts - is no secret to local kids, whose expression of delight became the de facto name of this traditional event.
While the market is actually held in honour of the city's patron saint, Saint Ambrose a 4th century bishop, the name comes from children shouting "che belli! che belli," (how pretty! how pretty!) upon arrival at the market. In the Milanese dialect, this sounds more like "oh bej! oh bej!" and hence, the name.
Indeed, the market is very pretty. Held near the Basilica di San Ambrogio, it is the largest cultural event of the winter, and the event generally coincides with the opening performances at La Scala, the world's most famous opera house.
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