Every year, on May 15, Gubbio prepares for the Festival of Ceri, a very ancient and folkloric popular tradition that draws its origins, the pagan ones, from ancient propitiatory rites that the ikuvini (the original Italian name of the Eugubini) dedicated to the divinities present in the seven Tables of Gubbio, in particular the Goddess Ceres and which are now kept in the Palazzo dei Consoli.
Another origin, purely Christian, celebrates the Patron Saint of Gubbio, Sant’Ubaldo starting from May 1160, on the anniversary of his death.
The Festival of Ceri is a tradition deeply felt by the Eugubini and which tells the story of a people that draws the strength of being from its roots: among the protagonists of this festival there are the Ceraioli, those who carry the Cero and which involves them also as a tradition to be handed down from father to son.
The Ceri, kept in the Church of Sant’Ubaldo during the year, are wooden structures built in the shape of octagonal prisms that overlap. In order to reinforce the structure, inside the wooden prism there is a frame made up of an axis and the part that protrudes is called “timicchione“: the one placed at the top becomes the support for hoisting the Saint, while the one at “barella“, is used by the Ceraioli to carry it during the race through the streets of the town until you reach Monte Igino, where the Basilica del Santo is located with the remains placed in 1194.
The Saints who are instead transported on the Ceri by the Ceraioli are, in addition to Sant’Ubaldo, San Giorgio, Sant’Antonio, in the order in which they parade. If Sant’Ubaldo is the Patron of Gubbio, San Giorgio is the protector of merchants and Sant’Antonio of farmers.
The route of the Corsa dei Ceri, which starts from the Chiesa dei Neri, is about 4 km long and then ends with a big party in the characteristic alleys of Gubbio among food and wine tastings, shows and music.
In short, a real celebration, felt and loved by the Eugubini as well as by all the Umbrian people and which every year attracts many visitors and tourists, curious to discover an ancient tradition rich in history and peculiarities.
Since 1973 the Ceri have even become the symbol of the Umbrian Region.