Festival of the "Ceri"

May 15th

Festival of the "Ceri"

May 15th

It is not easy to "tell the story" of the Festival of the Ceri. It is one of the oldest, if not the oldest Italian folklore display. The festival has always played a fundamental role in the heart of the Eugubina community.
The festival is a solemn act of devotion on the part of the Eugubini towards their Bishop Ubaldo Baldassini which started in 1160, the year of his death. Since then, every 15th May, the eve of the day of mourning, the devotional offering to the patron Saint is a fixed appointment for the people of Gubbio who are said to have taken part in a great mystical procession, carrying candles all around the town and up Mount Ingino (where since 11th September 1194 the body of Saint Ubaldo lies, in the church which bears his name).
The wax candles, offered by the Arts and Crafts corporations, probably became difficult to transport with the passing of time, and towards the end of the 16th century were substituted by three wooden structures, which were agile and modern. made of two octagonal prisms, one on top of the other, supported internally by a wooden frame which has a bar going through it from top to bottom. This bar comes through to the outside and forms two pegs. The bottom peg fixes into a carrying frame called a "barella" which is carried on the shoulders. The top peg is used to fix one of the three little statues who represent the saints who protect the corporations: St Ubaldo (patron and protector of the city) for the builders, St George for the shopkeepers and St Anthony for the country folk. These three parts are put together for the festival on the 15th May. During the year the Ceri and their frames are kept in the Basilica of St Ubaldo at the top of mount Ingino, while the statues of the saints are kept in the little church of St Francesco della Pace, otherwise known as the Builders'church, in Via Savelli.

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