Saint Ubaldo Day

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La Festa dei Ceri at Gubbio. The statue of Saint Ubaldo leads the procession. Gubbio Corsa Ceri.jpg
La Festa dei Ceri at Gubbio. The statue of Saint Ubaldo leads the procession.

Saint Ubaldo Day is Jessup, Pennsylvania's observance of Gubbio, Italy's La Festa dei Ceri. Both celebrations honor the life of Bishop Ubaldo Baldassini who was canonized as Protector of Gubbio. The eve of his death anniversary, May 15, is marked in Gubbio by a procession known as La Corsa dei Ceri. Jessup conducts a nearly identical "Race of the Saints" on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend.

Jessup, Pennsylvania Place in Pennsylvania, United States

Jessup is a borough in Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 4,676 at the 2010 census.

Ubald Italian bishop-saint

Ubald of Gubbio was a medieval bishop of Gubbio, in Umbria, today venerated as a saint by the Catholic Church. Saint Ubaldo Day is still celebrated at the Basilica of Sant'Ubaldo in Gubbio in his honor, as well as at Jessup, Pennsylvania.

Memorial Day United States Federal Holiday remembering those who died in military service

Memorial Day or Decoration Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. The holiday, which is currently observed every year on the last Monday of May, was most recently held on May 28, 2018. Memorial Day was previously observed on May 30 from 1868 to 1970.

The procession through the streets features small statues of Saint Ubaldo, Saint George, and Saint Anthony, in order. They are mounted upon immense wooden pedestals each hoisted by a team of "Ceraioli" (runners) clad respectively in yellow, blue, or black.

Saint George Christian saint and martyr

Saint George was a soldier of Palestinian and Greek origins and a member of the Praetorian Guard for Roman emperor Diocletian, who was sentenced to death for refusing to recant his Christian faith. He became one of the most venerated saints and megalo-martyrs in Christianity, and was especially venerated by the Crusaders.

Origin

The borough of Jessup, a suburb of Scranton, organized and presented to the Luzerne County court for incorporation in December, 1876, grew in subsequent decades along with the anthracite coal industry. The demand for miners brought many European immigrants to the Lackawanna Valley. Italians came to Jessup mostly from Gubbio and other communities of the Umbria region's Province of Perugia.

Anthracite A hard, compact variety of coal that has a submetallic luster

Anthracite, often referred to as hard coal, is a hard, compact variety of coal that has a submetallic luster. It has the highest carbon content, the fewest impurities, and the highest energy density of all types of coal and is the highest ranking of coals.

Umbria Region of Italy

Umbria is a region of central Italy. It is the only Italian region having neither a coastline nor a border with other countries. It includes Lake Trasimeno and Marmore Falls, and is crossed by the River Tiber. The regional capital is Perugia. Umbria is known for its landscapes, traditions, history, culinary delights, artistic legacy, and influence on culture.

Province of Perugia Province of Italy

The Province of Perugia is the larger of the two provinces in the Umbria region of Italy, comprising two-thirds of both the area and population of the region. Its capital is the city of Perugia. The province covered all of Umbria until 1927, when the province of Terni was carved out of its southern third. The province of Perugia has an area of 6,334 km² covering two-thirds of Umbria, and a total population of about 660,000. There are 59 comunes in the province. The province has numerous tourist attractions, especially artistic and historical ones, and is home to the Lake Trasimeno, the largest lake of Central Italy. It historically the ancestral origin of the Umbri, while later it was a Roman province and then part of the Papal States until the late 19th century.

Jessup's new sizable Perugian enclave transplanted the tradition of La Festa dei Ceri in 1909. It continued only until 1952 but was revived for the borough's centennial celebration 24 years later. Certain years since then had up to 30,000 spectators joining Jessup's population of under 5,000 for the event, attracting national news media. Today, it is administered by the community's Saint Ubaldo Society and coupled with Jessup Hose Company No. 2's weekend-long carnival and picnic.

Gubbio, incidentally, is "Sister City" to Jessup resulting from a process that began in May, 1978 and was formally completed in May, 2004. As customary in Italy, Gubbio refers to Jessup as its "Città Gemellata" or "Twinned City". 2009 will be celebrated as the 100th year anniversary of Saint Ubaldo Day in Jessup and numerous commemorative celebrations were planned by the Saint Ubaldo Society to mark the occasion.

Events

Saint Ubaldo Day begins early in the morning with roving musicians from Valley View High School about town and an intimate ceremony at Saint John's Catholic Italian cemetery. Members of all three families, Sant' Ubaldo, San Giorgio, and Sant' Antonio, then gather together for a frittata breakfast. Participants then process to Saint Mary's Assumption Church for a special Mass followed by "L'Alzata".

Valley View High School (Pennsylvania)

Valley View High School is a rural public high school located in Archbald, Pennsylvania. It is the sole high school operated by the Valley View School District. In 2014, enrollment was reported as 800 pupils in 9th through 12th grades, with 27% of pupils eligible for a free lunch due to family poverty. Additionally, 11.7% of pupils received special education services, while 2.6% of pupils were identified as gifted. The school employed 52 teachers. Per the PA Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. Valley View High School has been accredited by the Middle States Commission on Secondary Schools. Valley View HIgh School is not a federally designated Title I school.

During the Alzata, three "stanga" (the H-shaped platforms to be placed upon teams' shoulders) are stood vertically as the large "ceri" (the pedestals) are fastened into them perpendicularly with wooden pegs. This hardware weighs approximately 400-450 pounds (900 in Gubbio) each and is reminiscent of the bier that carried Saint Ubaldo himself through Gubbio in proclamation of his heroism. The saints' statues are affixed after "capodieci" (team captains) climb atop the cross-members, where they bless the structures with holy water from "brocca", ceramic vases sent directly from Gubbio.

The afternoon is spent socializing among neighbors. Many households assemble in their yards and on their sidewalks to offer homemade food and wine to passersby. During these hours, the saints are carried leisurely throughout Jessup on display and for practice.

The procession is the main event and is termed a "race" more for its quick pace and level of excitement than for any competitive aspect. It begins in the uptown section of Jessup and winds its way through residential blocks before reaching the Church Street business district. This downhill stretch ends at Station Park in the opposite end of town. The course is reversed and climbs Church Street again before turning toward the Jessup Veterans' Memorial Stadium. Teams circle the fields three times in a spectacle called "I tre giri". Saint Ubaldo always "wins", though George and Anthony can gain favor by having their ceri removed more swiftly as teams lay the stanga at rest and hammer the wooden pegs out.

Gubbio, Italy

In Gubbio, the procession ends by carrying the ceri to the Basilica di Sant' Ubaldo, which stands on top of Gubbio's Mount Ingino. In this case, an obvious competition occurs as Saint Ubaldo's ceraioli try to close the basilica doors before George and Anthony can join Ubaldo inside.

The event in Gubbio is bigger in many ways: a longer course, more participants and thousands more spectators, and a higher level of excitement and intensity. On a much smaller physical scale, Jessup's Saint Ubaldo Society has followed the traditions of Gubbio as closely as possible, which has resulted in a highly authentic[ citation needed ] celebration. In spirit and regard for Saint Ubaldo and La Festa de Ceri, Jessup's event is on par with that of Gubbio.[ citation needed ]

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