Milan festivals cannot be tagged as celebration related with religion and traditions. The city supports a very cosmopolitan lifestyle resulting in a very interesting mix where fashion weeks are welcomed with equal rigor and zest as the ‘fiestas’.
This healthy competition of traditional festivals, exhibitions and fashion shows probably starts in February with the inaugural of the Milan Fashion Week. The ‘week’ remains just a keyword search on the search engine as it goes on for more than a week to adjust a few more designers and their collections. Milan with its tradition in textile industry which goes a long way back, fashion rules the roost. It is a highly competitive and appreciated industry all around the world and Milan is fondly known as the ‘fashion’ capital of the world. One has to be a royal or celebrity family to visit this event, so mostly you would have to be happy with seeing all the fashion icons mingling on the Milan streets. This celebrity spotting can turn out to be an event in itself as invitation becomes compulsory for the fashion shows. One can have a stroll around the famous fashion hub of Milan intensely choc blocked by fashion streets such as Via Monte Napoleone, Via Manzoni, Via della Spiga and Corso Venezia. The Milan Fashion Week is held twice a year, in spring and fall. The first spring collection of the Fashion Week is held in Feb-Mar and the fall collection in Sept-Oct; both mostly at the Fiera Milano Exhibition Centre.
Among other city dweller’s entertainment events is the ever and most popular Italian F1 Grand Prix. Held at the Monza, it is one of first grand prix tracks ever built in the history of motor racing. Held in early September, the fastest race in motor racing happens at Monza situated 10 miles away from Milan. The three highlights of any race, Thrill, speed and energy can be witnessed on the participants and viewers face to its optimum.
There are surprises for shopping devotees too with the Antiques Fair which takes place on last Sunday of every month, except July.
The oldest canal in Milan; Naviglio Grande plays host to the fair where along the banks hundreds of merchants and retailers arrange their shops and decorate it with their noveau selections of furniture, clocks, porcelain, silver, jewelry, dolls, books, walking sticks and comics. To add to the fun, one can also visit the nearby cafes and shops which remain open especially for this Sunday.
During the month of March an ‘Open Day’ is held in Milan known as Oggi Aperto. Historical monuments and architectural marvels which are a silent witness to Milan’s history and are not open for visitors are made approachable to the public on this day. This event happens during the last weekend of March.
Festival of Sant’Ambrogio
A tribute to Italian saint, Saint Ambrose is paid by Milanese citizens by celebrating a festival called “O bei O bei" whose literal translation means ‘so beautiful’. The month of December perks up as the 7th day of the month arrives. Within the circle and streets surrounding Basilica of Sant'Ambrogio, various stalls spring up selling various local articles as well as delicious tit-bits. A specialty of Milan, the ‘vin brulé’ wine spiced up with roasted chestnuts can be relished. The celebration starts two days prior to the actual festival as it winds up on December 7 at the Basilica.
Carnival as celebrated in Milan, is no less than a South American customary festivity. As the tradition requires, the joyous partying starts on the first Saturday of Lent. This date is not fixed and varies according to the date of Easter. Piazza Duomo entertains all the carnival enthusiasts every year who are all decked up in customary outfits like the Meneghino, to participate in the parades.
Corteo dei Re Magi
The procession of Corteo dei Re Magi takes place on the 6th of January is a welcome to the three wise men and one of the oldest festivals in Milan. In this festival three volunteers assume the part of the wise men who lead the way of the parade. During this procession which starts at Piazza Duomo there is a stopover at San Lorenzo, finally winding up at Sant’Eustorgio. The wise men then distribute gifts to poor children, before giving up their crowns to the priest which brings an end to the procession.
Tredesin de mars
Tredesin de mars is a festival celebrated to honor the religious conversion of Milanese people into Christianity under the guidance of St. Barnabas. This is a legend, because history has proved that St. Barnabas never came to Milan. But the Milanese people believe that he came to Milan on the 13th of March and drew 13 signs with his cross. These 13 signs are believed to be the ones at the floors of the church of Santa Maria del Paradiso. When St. Barnabas left the city, he left behind a ritual called Tredesin de mars during which a fair of sweets and flowers and a religious procession is arranged between Porta Romana and Porta Vigentina.
Milano Film Festival
Festival Latino Americano
Starting from the month of June, lasting 2 months, Milanese celebrate everything Latin on the outskirts of Milan to celebrate their bonding with Latin America. Food, cultural events, literature stalls, exhibits, art and artifacts stalls, etc all and everything that assumes the proportion of Latin America makes up the festival.
Milan Jazz Festival
Milanese people’s affection for music is well known all around the world and jazz occupies a special position in their heart. Each town in Italy has their own jazz clubs which organize special performances at regular intervals. Same is the case with Milan. The annual jazz festival which starts in the first week of November can last for up to a month. Various venues host the festival where famous Italian and European jazz musicians play different styles of jazz music. The local tourist office can be your best assistance in helping you out with the detailed information about the festival.
Del Naviglio festival
The first ten days of June are reserved for the Del Naviglio festival when the canals of Naviglio are jam packed with sellers proposing their variety of goods. Along with comes the entertainment factor of cultural parades, live entertainment shows and street performances.
National Holidays in Milan