Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 16, 1905.djvu/304

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256 The Dancing-Tower Processions of Italy.

bestowed on th^ forestieri, who had joined in the homage paid to the local divinities. The thick mist which had enveloped the hill and hidden the three shouting groups tearing up the narrow path from those beneath had cleared away ; and as we descended the perpendicular hillside, with the saints now amicably united on one platform, the valley lay like a map beneath our feet. The ruins of the Roman theatre stood out clearly, in shape like the crescent moon. The tower of Palazzo dei Consoli was outlined with bright stars, lights shone in every window, bonfires on every hill. Down the winding ways we stepped in unison, joining in the refrain of socialistic songs, which on every day except this one of privileged licence are forbidden by the police.

Before we reached the town, most of the Ceraioli had slipped away, the shepherds and vine-dressers had sought their homes among the rugged hills. Some few Eugubean citizens, the boys and ourselves, remained to take part in the concluding ceremony. At the foot of Monte Ingino is a small chapel, where a young white-robed priest with his attendant acolytes was already in waiting. Here the saints, their hard work accomplished, retire into seclusion for another year. A hymn with the constant repetition of Sant' Ubaldo's name was shouted, rather than sung, by all present, a benediction bestowed, and then all went quietly homeward.^

It now remains to ask ourselves what is the origin of these curious erections and the attendant ceremonies, and

^ On the point of going to press I take the following from La JDovienica del Corriere, Aug. 14, 1904 (translated): "At Casteltermini, in the province of Girgenti, there has been held from time immemorial a festival of a more or less religious character. On this occasion a high tower mounted on a car having the form of a ship is drawn in procession through the streets by oxen. On its summit is a figure of the Madonna, here regarded as the special patroness of the sulphur miners, who for this one day escaping from their gloomy, unwholesome surroundings, take a prominent part in the festivities."