The race of the Ceri

The Festa dei Ceri is one of the oldest Italian folklore events . It involves the population on May 15 , the eve of the celebration of the patron saint Ubaldo . The Ceri are three wooden machines, superimposed and joined internally by a central shaft that crosses the structure; this is "entangled" on a wooden table known as a "stretcher" where ten men , the ceraioli, are placed, leaning their free arm behind an "armrest", supporting all the weight on the other shoulder.

They are led by the Capodieci , who finds a place between the front poles of the "stretcher", and by a Capocinque behind the candle between the poles. Each cerò is identified on the top of the statue of the patron saint of the guild: sant'Ubaldo (masons and stonecutters), san Giorgio (craftsmen and merchants), sant'Antonio abate (farmers and students). The race, aimed at the glorification of Ubaldo, consists in transporting the Ceri from the city center to the basilica of Sant'Ubaldo on Mount Ingino.

The costumes of the ceraioli are very lively: red handkerchief and sash, white trousers and yellow shirt (Cero di sant'Ubaldo), blue (San Giorgio), black (Sant'Antonio). In the early afternoon of May 15 the drummers begin to play and the ceraioli gather and participate with the authorities in the draw of the two "captains of the Ceri". After the delivery of the «bouquet of flowers» to the ceraioli, the official parade begins in the streets of the city and ends in Piazza Grande.

At the signal of the « Campanone », the main bell of the Palazzo dei Consoli, the Elevation of the Ceri takes place. Thus began the Mostra dei Ceri through the streets of the city, with "turns" in front of the homes of people with particular devotion. In the evening the Ceri are then raised and blessed, starting the race divided into four sections. The purpose of the race is, for the Cero di sant'Ubaldo to close the door of the church leaving out the Ceri di san Giorgio and sant'Antonio, who naturally try to insert at least part of the candle in the doors.

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