Ambrosian Carnival (Carnevale Ambrosiana)
Milan, the city of chic is also a very traditional and family orientated place as indicated in the Christmas events celebrated during the festive season, and of course as is expected of Italian culture. This extends to many of the exciting events that take place in the Italian capital and that quite often involve or are held in honour of their patron saint and fourth century Bishop, Saint Ambrose.
Thanks to this great man a fabulous market is held at Christmas on Piazza Duomo selling all sorts of marvellous goodies, and on the same day that it opens the world famous Opera House La Scala kicks off its Christmas season. However, the celebrations don’t just stop there as once again in honour of Bishop Ambrose the religious celebrations for Lent are extended, and there are parties and events forming part of the Ambrosian Riteand Carnival.
The Ambrosian Carnival which comprises the longest and largest in the Italian capital will be held in February/March in Milan. It ends the first Saturday of Lent and features many floats and Milanese characters parading to the Piazza del Duomo on the last day. It is held in honour of the fourth century Bishop Ambrose who arrived late to the celebrations of Lent in the Italian capital.
In accordance with this religious tradition Lent begins with the first Sunday of Lent, and the last day of the carnival is the last Saturday of Lent, four days later than is the Roman tradition (the Tuesday). So while the rest of Italy has put away their party hats the fun is just beginning in the capital.
The story goes that Bishop Ambrose participated in a pilgrimage and announced his return to Milan to celebrate the first rites of lent in the city. However, he never made it back in time so the Milanese waited extending the date of the celebrations until he arrived, and delaying the rite of the Ash in the Archdiocese of Milan which is held the first Sunday of Lent.
The Carnevale lasts two weeks and two days, and the highlight of the event is the Thursday to the Tuesday in holy week, the last day of the Carnival especially (Shrove Tuesday). The event attracts thousands of people and attractions include related events, lots of fabulous costumes, traditional customs and food, and culminates in a parade to Piazza del Duomo.
Anna – Marketing Team