Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 16, 1905.djvu/295

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The Dancing- Tower Pi'ocessions of Italy. 2 5 1

and are surmounted by figures of saints. Large silver statues of S, Cosmo and S. Damian, who are associated with Santa RosaHa as healers of the plague-stricken population, also take part in this procession.^

The Elevation of the Ceri at Giibbio.

I can add but little to the admirable account of the Ceri of Gubbio by Mr. Herbert M. Bower, which was published in 1897 by the Folklore Society. But having been present at Gubbio on two occasions of more recent date, the impressions of an enthusiastic spectator may present a few points of interest.

The Ceri already described present a certain similarity of form : they are towers or pagodas built up in diminish- ing stages : they often serve as pedestals for sacred images, and sometimes also as reliquaries. But to what can we liken the three Ceri of Gubbio . They have been de- scribed as being composed of two hollow wooden lobes or cylinders, and as resembling Chinese lanterns placed one above the other. When first we saw the Cero of Sant' Ubaldo, which is the largest, and stands when elevated about sixteen feet in height, it lay in a horizontal position in an outhouse, and it then looked like the needle-case of a giantess. When tossing above the crowd, very much out of the perpendicular, the three Ceri have a weird resem- blance to Christmas crackers. Like the whirling towers of San Giovanni, they are of wood, painted and decorated. They have light handles serving no obvious purpose, and are further adorned with tags of ribbon and gilt paper. When elevated on the barella, which is supported on the shoulders of the Ceraioli, they preserve their balance by means of guy-ropes held in position by enthusiastic spectators, whose office as sustainers of equilibrium be- comes more onerous and important as the day wears on.

'Pitre, op. iit.