Babbo Natale Has Arrived




European Christmas

Christmas, as I’ve seen, is a big deal in Europe. Many decorations and festive items are put up starting mid-November. Milan is no exception to that fact. The city is all lit up, and there are multiple Christmas trees up around the city. The Christmas markets and countdowns to Christmas are in full swing throughout the city. Therefore, this week I will be addressing some of my experiences in this festive season. This was the last week of lessons, so I am very glad about that. Well, not very glad because that means finals are coming, but pretty glad. This week was pretty heavy, I had a lot of group projects to finalize and presentations to do. However, it is all over and I can final focus on relaxing a bit and studying. 

Since Thursday, I have been studying for some of my finals coming up. It is a little overwhelming how much I have to review for my classes, but I will find a way to fit everything. Studying is very important, of course, but you also need a little time for some breaks. So, my roommate and I decide that we would spend all morning studying and at around 5 pm we would take a break and go to a Christmas event. To say there are a lot of Christmas events is a bit of understatement. 

Oh Bej! Oh Bej! 

December 7th is the Milan’s Patron Saint day. So everyone in the city gets a long weekend. There were some Christmas things going on starting December 1st, but the real events did not kick off until December 7th for the patron saint day. One Christmas market that I read was not to be missed during this long weekend is the Oh Bej! Oh Bej! market. It is held in front of Castello Sforzesco from December 7-9. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I knew it would be nice. We decided to go to the market on Saturday after studying for a bit. We were going to go on Friday but we felt we didn’t really know which markets were worth going to. Therefore, we dedicated Friday to researching the events and the time-frames for each of them. 

We headed to the Duomo and decided it was too cold to walk. However, the city was extremely busy so the tram was packed. Public transportation in Milan is always packed so I think I’m used to that by now. We got to center and headed to the castle. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was way bigger than I expected. The market surrounds the castle. There are stands full of different artifacts. Not to mention the amount of food and drinks being sold. My nose could not distinguish where all the amazing smells came from, but I was beyond happy. I managed to contain myself and go around the whole market without buying all the food I saw. There were a lot of different things being sold. From artisan stuff to vinyl records.

Good Food and Good music

I think I have made it pretty clear that I love music. In the market there are a lot of stands selling CD’s and vinyl records. Much like in Berlin, I would have bought the entire collection of Led Zeppelin I saw, but I don’t have a record player. However, I do have a CD player in my car (and at home because I can’t throw anything away apparently). The thing about my car is that the aux doesn’t work, so I am stuck listening to the radio or CD’s. Luckily, I am still one of the few people that still purchase CD’s, so if I ever get tired of the radio I have stuff to listen to. So at this stand, I saw a few CD’s I would have loved to have in my car.

However, I ended up not buying that Rolling Stones album (Let it Bleed, my absolute favorite). The main reason I did not buy it was because I wasn’t sure if the CD shapes are the same as in the USA. I was also hoping to find a Led Zeppelin CD because I actually prefer them over Rolling Stones, or at least a Pink Floyd CD. Unfortunately the gentlemen did not have any of their CD’s, so I left with nothing. However, after going around the entire market I did stop to get some food. There was this sugar doughnut stuffed with chocolate that was absolutely calling me. It was delicious by the way.

More to come

With finals quickly coming, I know I will need these small breaks. I look forward to going to all the other markets around the city and seeing more Christmas events. This is one season that I think Europe does very well. Their Christmas spirit is always over the roof and it is something I do not see a lot back home.

*Disclaimer: I realized I did not take any pictures at the market and I apologize but here is a picture showing some of the Christmas decorations I was talking about.

Some Swarovski crystals with lights set up as a chandelier type above the Christmas tree.
This is one of the many trees around the city. It is the one inside Vittorio Emmanuelle. It is set up by Swarovski.