Race of the Ceri

Race of the Ceri

May 15
The Race of the Ceri (Candles) held in Gubbio, Umbria, Italy, every May 15 is thought by some to have originated in pre-Christian times because its date coincides with the Ides of May in the pagan calendar, but the better-founded explanation is that it commemorates the city's patron, St. Ubaldo Baldassini (d. 1160). The candles for which the event is named were originally made of wax but are now heavy, tower-like wooden structures reinforced with iron bands. These are taken in procession to the Piazza dei Consoli, where the teams of bearers who carry them pause to rest. Then, upon a signal, the bearers run with the candles up to the top of Mount Ingino, where they are offered to St. Ubaldo, whose feast is observed the following day.
CONTACTS:
Italian Government Tourist Board
630 Fifth Ave., Ste. 1565
New York, NY 10111
212-245-5618; fax: 212-586-9249
www.italiantourism.com
SOURCES:
FestEur-1961, p. 117