The Festa della Esaltazione della Santa Croce (Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross) beginning with vespers on September 13th and including the day of September 14th is the most important festival of the city of Lucca. The famous candlelight procession called "La Luminara bella" is celebrated.
The special emphasis with which Lucca celebrates the festival is due to the millenary cult of the Holy Face of Lucca, the great wooden crucifix revered in the cathedral. Similar occasions in the past did not include, as in traditional processions, the transport of the venerated image, but a real tribute of homage that went ceremonially in front of the Image.
The actual procession is therefore the last testimony of an ancient custom widespread in all the major cities of the Middle Ages in which the subject populations undertook, at the time of submission, to carry a tribute of wax, in times when beeswax it was a luxury item. This offer was presented in solemn form, once a year, to the feast of the patron saint of the hegemonic city.
The origins of the festival are also very ancient; the first mention of the date of September 14 as the legal deadline is 1118. Around this date the anniversary became the main city.
Sunday 8 September
6:00 pm: Piazza San Michele Palio of Santa Croce by the Lucca Crossbow Company
Friday 13 September Luminara and procession
12.00 am: Sound of bells celebrating throughout the Archdiocese.
6:00 pm: In the Cathedral, Celebration of First Vespers, presided by Archbishop Archbishop. They are invited to participate with the faithful, the diocesan and religious priests in cotta and red stole, the deacons with their liturgical garb, and the Religious. Musical service of the Chapel of the Cathedral "St. Cecilia ".
7:15 pm: Meeting of all the representations in the S. Frediano area.
8:00 pm - Luminara di Santa Croce: In the churchyard of the Basilica of St. Frediano, Prayer of beginning and Luminara.
In conjunction with the sound of the bells of San Frediano, at the exit of the Luminara of Santa Croce from the Basilica, additional cannon shots will be fired, by the historical re-enactment group Historica Lucense, to celebrate the event, again from the Platform of the San Frediano platform towards Porta Santa Maria. The re-enactors, after having taken the cannon in the Artillery Underground, will then participate, as usual, in the Historical Part of the Luminara. Upon arrival in the Cathedral of St. Martin, homage to the Holy Face, brief address of the Archbishop, songs by all the Choirs present, concluding Liturgy, execution of the traditional "Mottettone" in the Cathedral of San Martino by the Santa Cecilia Music Chapel, Final Blessing.
11:30 pm - Santa Croce fireworks: Fireworks to celebrate the Holy Cross. The show is clearly visible from the Urban Walls, north side.
Saturday 14 September exaltation of the Holy Cross
7:30 am: Cathedral Church: Mass.
9:00 am: Cathedral Church: Mass.
10:30 am - Solemn Pontifical: Solemn Concelebration of the Eucharist, presided by Archbishop Archbishop, with the Canons of the Cathedral, the Vicars of the Pastoral Zones and the diocesan and religious priests who wish it. The songs will be edited by the Chapel of the Cathedral “S. Cecilia ”(Director: Luca Bacci, Organist: Giulia Biagetti).
12.00 am - San Frediano platform: Gazzarra delle Artiglierie by Historica Lucensis;
5:00 pm: Celebration of the Second Vespers and "station" at the Chapel of the Holy Face, presided by Archbishop Archbishop. Also to the Second Vespers, as far as possible, they are invited to participate with the faithful, the presbyters.
5 pm: 30 am - San Frediano platform - the Lucca Eye edited by Historica Lucensis:
6:00 pm: Holy Mass with songs led by the Choir "R. Baralli ".
Sunday 15 September
12:00 am - San Frediano platform: Gazzarra delle Artiglierie by Historica Lucensis;
All day long historical re-enactment at the San Frediano plateau with "Vicaria Val di Lima" of Bagni Di Lucca, "Compagnia Giovanni delle Bande Nere" of Florence and "Compagnia della Spada e della Veglia", of Lucca
Sunday 22 September
undergrounds of the small barracks San Pietro - Palio of the arch of Santa Croce.
The event is included in the September Lucchese 2019 calendar.