The Ambrosia Carnival, what it is, when and how it is celebrated in 2024

For Ambrosia Carnival means his feast Carnival with the Ambrosian rite, different from the Roman one, which is much more widespread.

The town where, par excellence, the Ambrosia Carnival is celebrated and celebrated is Milanwhich also owes this anniversary to its patron saint: Sant’Ambrogio.

What is the Ambrosian Carnival?

But how does the Ambrosian Carnival differ from what (almost) all of us consider traditional and are used to celebrating from childhood?

Mainly for at your home. According to the Ambrosian rite, in fact, Lent does not begin from Ash Wednesday but from the following Sunday, the first Sunday of Lent.

The carnival, therefore, does not end on Shrove Tuesday but continues until the following Saturday. It is called, for this reason, Fat Saturday.


Why is it called Ambrosian?

According to tradition, the postponed Carnival is designated as Ambrosia because it was Saint Ambrose, the patron bishop of Milan, who asked the city to extend Lent for a few days and proceed with the Carnival celebrations.

This happened when, being out of town, it took a few days before he could return to Milan to celebrate. G

Historians, however, believe that this change was due to more practical reasons: a catastrophic event that did not allow the celebration of Carnival on time in a certain year, or even a modification of the Gregorian calendar in the late 16th century that led to inconsistency in dates.

According to another historical theory, however, all Carnival celebrations culminated on Holy Saturday (rather than Tuesday) and it was a universal choice to move Lent to Ash Wednesday. This choice resulted in exactly 40 days of fasting from the end of Shrovetide to Easter Sunday. Therefore, it would not be the Milanese who postponed the date of the celebration, but the Roman rite which brought it forward.


Where it is celebrated

The Ambrosian Carnival, however, is not exclusive to Milan. There are other places, in fact, that follow this rite and not the Roman one.

This is the majority of the municipalities that are currently part of itarchdiocese of Milan (provinces of Milan, Monza, Lecco, Varese and part of the province of Como) and some areas that were once part of it, such as some locations in the province of Bergamo. But also of any other city or location that wants to follow the tradition.

How is it celebrated?

The celebrations are not very different from those used throughout Italy for the traditional Carnival. In Milan on Holy Saturday a long masked procession is organized, which from year to year has a main theme.

The typical desserts of the Ambrosian Carnival are the same as those prepared in the “usual”: chiacchiere, also called frappe. They are made with a flour mixture that is fried and then covered with powdered sugar. There are also some delicious variations that add a chocolate or pistachio coating.

When does it fall this year?

The carnival has no set date. The traditional one, which to be clear has its peak on Tuesday, falls this year on February 13, 2024.

This means that Holy Saturday, the day of celebration of the Ambrosian Carnival, will be on the opposite side of February 17, 2024.

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