Saturday, May 09, 2009

Festa dei Ceri - Gubbio Candle Race

If you are in central Italy this month, Gubbio’s Festa del Ceri, held every 15th of May is an event you can’t miss. For over 900 years the people of the Umbrian town have celebrated the lives of Saints Ubaldo; the towns patron saint, St George and St Anthony with a race through the streets.

There is much pageantry and ritual attached to the ceremony with a colourful procession of the three Ceri (25’ wooden sculptures depicting each saint.)Mass is celebrated and a large luncheon feast is held before the teams commence the race.

Starting from the Piazza Grande they travel up the back up the hill to the Basilica di Sant Ubaldo. The teams consist of ten carriers who are changed every ten minutes without stopping until the winners, which are always the Ubaldo team reach the doors of the Cathedral and attempt to close them before the others enter. Once the Ceri are safely stored, the saints are bought out and a candlelit procession continues around the town along with more eating and drinking.

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