Bringing the Tradition of la Festa dei Ceri to Jessup
In 1909, la Festa dei Ceri was introduced to the Jessup community by Italian immigrants from Gubbio, and the surrounding cities of Umbria, who traveled to the United States to find work and a new life in the hills of Lackawanna County. Homesick for their families, loved ones and traditions left behind, the Eugubini built wooden pillars similar to those used during the festival in Gubbio and ran through the streets of their new and unfamiliar home.
Many of the men who carried the ceri during the first few years of the festival in Jessup saw this tradition of their homeland as the guiding light of hope. They left the shadows of the Lackawanna mines covered in soot to live out the tradition and sense of pride and nostalgia as the festival in Gubbio. The festival took place each year until 1952.
Some 24 years later, in 1976, the festival was reborn as part of Jessup’s Centennial celebration. It recognized each year until 1990. In 1991 and 1992, a group of high school students who were saddened that the saints would not pass) built statues similar to those used in the Festa dei Ceri and ran them up Jessup’s winding mountain roads.
In 2000, a group of Eugibini-Americans committed to carrying on the tradition decided to bring back the Festa dei Ceri to the Jessup community. Since then, ties between the people of Jessup and Gubbio have grown stronger, new friendships have been born and the festival continues carry on the tradition of the original la Festa dei Ceri held in Gubbio.
Jessup's Saint Ubaldo Day celebration is always held on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend.