Last minute The Run of the Ceri of Gubbio, a total social event


The Run of the Ceri of Gubbio, a total social event

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It doesn't probably exist at the world other event able to involve a whole population in so global way, to characterize the identity and the affiliation of a social group. It's perhaps the enigma prince of among anthropologists, sociologists and researchers of popular traditions have lavished for extricating the plots that weave in this unusual party. Its origins are ancient, and they go beyond the celebrations in honour of the bishop Ubaldo, even though the Corsa dei Ceri develops every year the on 15th May, anniversary of the death of the protecting saint. In the demonstration, besides the religious character, converge elements of the folklore typical of the age of the low Middle Ages, fed by pagan myths tied to the advent of the spring, the fertilisation and the cult of the goddess Cerere. The Ceri don't resemble to enormous candles, but with theirs 7 meters high are wooden octagonal prism that directly recalls the phallic symbolism. On the summit of the three ceri, on the occasion of the run, there are the statues of the three saints, Sant'Ubaldo, patron and protector of the masons, San Giorgio, protecting the dealers and Sant'Antonio, protecting the farmers and the students.  What happens on May 15th The morning soon the Captains and the Capodieci go with the ceraioli in St. Francis Church of the Peace, where the mass is celebrated and where the statues of the three saints are guarded, which are withdrawn and placed on the top of the three ceri after a procession that ends to the Palazzo dei Consoli. At 12 o'clock pm, after the sound of the bell, among the jubilant population the ceri are raised, according to specific ritual, during which the tradition is celebrated to break three pitchers of water launching them among the crowd in sign of good wish. After this phase the ceri are made to complete various turns and runs, up to bring them in the native horizontal position in via Savelli della Porta. At 6 pm the real run brgins, with a new raising preceded by a procession and by the benediction of the bishop. The ceri are ready to run as quickly as possible. They return in Piazza della Signoria and when the mayor launches the special signal they do three spins around the plaza and they goes through narrow lanes, toward the Basilica of Sant'Ubaldo. One of the particularities of the run are that it is not a real '' competition '', and is not a race at all, since during the run it's not possible that the ceri are overcome, both because the streets where they pass are too tightened, both because the tradition doesn't foresee it. The order of arrival is always the same, and is unchangeable: first comes Sant'Ubaldo, follows San Giorgio and closes Sant'Antonio. The mastery of the run consists of behaving on the best way during it, in effecting fast and precise changes among the various ceraioli who transport the ceri, in outdistancing as much as possible the cero that follows, and if possible, to close the portal of the Basilica of Sant'Ubaldo to delay its access.  
Brief glossary of the Run of Ceri
" RAISING - movement of the ceri that are erected in vertical position from the horizontal position to be transported through the stretchers.   " STRECHER - wooden support set at the base of the cero inside which two aces are inserted for allowing to the ceraioli its transport.   " BIRATA - turn, a circular spin made from the ceraioli to the cero.   " BROCCA - classical container that is made to oscillate from the Capodieci in the moment of the raising and launched among the crowd that is trying to gain at least a crock to hold as precious memory and as source of good wish.   " CAPITANI - key figures of the run. They are extracted at two years of distance and select among the participants to the University of the Masons or Stonecutters. They are two, and they have great importance in the celebrations. The Captain Primo is responsible of the run in the city, while the Capitano Secondo is responsible of the raising of the morning and the run on the Mount Ingino.   " CAPODIECI - they are three, each responsible of his own cero, of the muta and of the whole run. They are elected basing on the attachment to the cero, of the moral qualities, physics and human. They command the teams composed of 10 ceraioli that will have to transport the cero and they preside every ceremony and demonstration of the run.   " CERAIOLO - who transports the cero on shoulder with stretchers on which wood aces are inserted. Every citizen born to Gubbio or who remarkable worthies that have brought him to be included has achieved can be ceraiolo. In the choice of the ceraioli it counts very much the attachment to the cero and the tradition of family.   " CERO - tall wood structure around 7 meters composed by two overlapped octagonal prisms. To the base it is situated the stretcher that allows its transport by the ceraioli, while on the summit there are respectively put the statues of Sant'Ubaldo, San Giorgio and Sant'Antonio.   " MUTA - change effected among the ceraioli that transport the cero and other ceraioli that place side by side them and that they take their place in movement in pre-arranged places. It's one among the most delicate moments for the cero and that needs great coordination. 
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