May 15, 2011 - Festa dei Ceri (Race of the Candles)

(Gubbio, Italy)

Festa dei Ceri

Festa dei Ceri

The Festa Dei Ceri 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 local community.

Its origins are obscure, it is enough to know that there are two basic hypotheses: one religious and one pagan. However, a well-documented version sees the festival as 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 15 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 take part in a great mystical procession, carrying candles all around the town and up Mount Ingino (where since 11 September 1194 the body of Saint Ubaldo lies, in the church which bears his name).

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