Oh Bej! Oh Bej! Fair in Milan
5-8 December 2021. The oldest Christmas Market in Milan.
The Oh Bej! Oh Bej! Fair is the most important Christmas market in Milan.
It is held around Saint Ambrose (Patron Saint of Milan)’s Day, from December 5th to December 8th, 2021.
It takes place in front of Castello Sforzesco, and it attracts thousands of tourists every year.
A lot of stands display antiques, bric-a-brac, clothes, toys, Christmas decorations, sweets and winter delicacies.
The Fair is one of the oldest traditions of the city. Its origins can be traced back to 1288, when celebrations in honour of the Patron Saint took place near the old Santa Maria Maggiore.
The origin of the name dates back to 1510, when Giannetto Castiglione, delegate of Pope Pius IV, visited Milan on December 7. Giannetto wanted to ingratiate himself with the Milanese, and thus entered the city carrying boxes full of sweets and toys for children. The name “Oh bej! Oh bej!” (“How wonderful! How wonderful!“) is supposedly a reference to the cheerful cries of the Milanese children who received presents from him.
Until 1886, the fair was located in Piazza Mercanti (near Milan Cathedral); from 1886 to 2006, it was held right by the Basilica di Sant’Ambrogio; in 2006, it was relocated again, this time to the area of the Sforza Castle.