The “Race of the Saints” known as the “Festa Dei Ceri” celebrates Saint Ubaldo Day and occurs in two places on the planet. Gubbio, Italy has been holding the race for over 800 years while the American version pictured here occurs in sister city Jessup, Pennsylvania where many Gubbinos migrated in the early 1900’s. Though a bit more modest in scope, the American version is equally energetic and as impressive as the original celebration in Italy. The “Festa” happens in Gubbio in mid May and in Jessup every Memorial Day Weekend.
You should know: The race is essentially a procession that gets it’s boost from the enthusiastic pressure of participating teams representing Saint Anthony (colors red and black), Saint George (Red and Blue) and Saint Ubaldo (Red and Gold). Saint Ubaldo is always first, Saint George second and Saint Anthony is third. There is no passing. So St. Ubaldo always wins. Then how is it a race? At the the end of the high octane procession, the teams separate the “ceri” holding the statues of each saint from the the “stanga” and carry it up the hill (or mountain in Gubbio). First team to the top gets bragging rights but Santo’ Baldo” always wins. Hope you enjoy the photos.
Youngsville, NY (Hometown, Jessup, Pennsylvania)
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A statue of Saint Ubaldo, a gift from celebrants in Italy sent in April 2013 to the St Ubaldo Society in Jessup.
The Race of the Saints on Church Street, Jessup. St. Ubaldo followed by Saint George and Saint Anthony.
Saint Anthony team in action.
Saint Anthony team in the final turns.
Saint George team on the final turns.
Saint Ubaldo team on the final turns.
St. Ubaldo team first on the hill.