Festa dei Ceri 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). Certainly, the Eugubini dearly loved their important townsman, especially from 1154 onwards, when Gubbio conquered no less than 11 allied cities. The victory seemed miraculous, and was also thanks to the intervention of Bishop Baldassini. 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. They have been replaced a number of times. They have kept their original form up until today and on the same date; they follow the same route to the same place.
This religious and historical festival is held in Umbria, Gubbio, Italy, on May 15 of each year. The Ceri are three wooden structures weighing about 300 kg each, crowned by statues of St. Ubaldo, St. George and St. Anthony and vertically grafted on many stretchers in the shape of “H”, which enable the strucutres to be carried on the shoulders by ceraioli. The most important part of the celebration is the race in which the Ceri are carried on the shoulders of Ceraioli along the city streets up to the Basilica.
Please visit http://www.ceri.it/ for more information.
This festival is suitable for people of all ages. Whoever wants to get fully involved in the festival of the Ceri needs to wear comfortable casual clothes, a pair of flat shoes, possibly trainers, leaving everything that is superfluous. The festival on 15 may, takes over the entire town which is decorated for the occasion with banners and flags bearing the colours and emblems of the three Ceri, and the emblems of the town itself. The race is so involving that one is obliged to follow the river of ceraioli and the people who follow the Ceri. It is important to be careful. During the race, the Ceri move at the highest possible speed around the town, accompanied by a large enthusiastic crowds.
Tourist Information Center:
IAT Gubbio – Via Ansidei, 32 Gubbio