Festa dei Ceri

May 15, 2009 / Events
ceri1At dawn, drumming softly through quiet streets, Ceraioli arrive to awaken their captains and the Festa dei Ceri begins.

Later, with drums pounding, bells ringing, music blaring and people cheering, huge flags are unfurled and the Ceri – three monumental wooden “candlesticks” shaped liked prisms with intricate inlaid patterns, topped with their saint’s statue – emerge from the 14th century Palazzo dei Consoli and are raised from horizontal positions to completely upright! The crowd goes wild as teams carrying their Ceri race around Piazza Grande and through the town where throngs overflow every street and byway!

Originally a pagan celebration of spring, fertility and virility in honor of Ceres, the Roman goddess, it has been adapted by the faithful to honor the town’s patron saints: first and foremost, Ubaldo, representing stonemasons; Georgio, craftsmen and merchants; and Antonio, farm workers, landowners and students, every 15th of May.

The entire city, a living, breathing organism, pulses with one goal – the great race to the top of Mount Ingino and the Basilica di S.Ubaldo! The Ceraioli then triumphantly circle the square and return the Ceri to their resting place in the church. Exhausted and exultant, they descend, distant sounds of drumming and singing lasting well into the night.


Rosemary and Bob Connelly

by Rosemary and Bob Connelly

Artists who fulfilled their dream to “Live Cheap and Make Art” in Italy. Their website www.livecheapmakeart.com showcases their watercolors and photographs.

7 Responses to “Festa dei Ceri”

  1. Claudia McCadden

    What a beautiful way to honor their town’s Saint. This is so respectful in the Catholic religion. The town’s people are so Blessed.

    Claudia McCadden

  2. Stanley Crabb

    MY wife and I saw this race of the Ceri in 1959. We were studying Italian at the University for Foreigners in Perugia. The Geometra (building engineer of our building in Perugia (Via dei Filosofi 24, I think) and I had become friends. On May 15, he and his fiance’ and my wife and I were stuffed into his Topolino (Fiat) and took off for Gubbio. I confess I didn’t understand much that Omero Mezzasoma told me, because he was speaking Italian. We had begun learning Italian only in April, the month before. But, it was a memorable occasion, one which drew Omero and Vera and us closer together. Thank you for giving the complete picture of the Corsa dei Ceri.

  3. Robert Lettieri

    This event is and has been replicated for many years in Jessup, PA near Scranton. Many of the residents are from Gubbio and there are also visitors from Gubbio who have attended.Check the Scranton Times Tribune for articles and details of this annual event….

  4. Stanley Crabb

    Thanks a lot for the 2-minute clip. Great experience…that takes me back to 1959 when I saw it in person. Quite a feat to race all the way to the top carrying that heavy “saint” cero.


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