Settembre Lucchese is a very ancient celebration for the Saint Patron, the Volto Santo, but it is also a popular feast that brings along pagan traditions associated with propitious rites of the countryside.
The feast of Santa Croce is the traditional event par excellence in Lucca. It's celebrated on 14 September. On the evening of the 13th, the day before, the traditional procession is held in honor of the Holy Face, a wooden crucifix venerated by the Lucchese folk and carved, according to legend, by Nicodemus from a cedar of Lebanon in order to represent the likeness of Christ.
The solemn procession, in which civil and religious authorities take part, has archers dressed in medieval costumes and many people in costume, as it crosses the city.
All electric lights are switched off and only candles placed on windowsills and shop signs provide light.
The procession gets inside the cathedral of St. Martin, where it executes the "mottettone" a sacred composition. According to tradition, on 14 September the Lucchese citizens head toward the town center to visit the chapel, which features the Holy Face, in the Cathedral, to pray at the foot of the sacred effigy. Most devotees even tour the seven churches.
But Holy Cross is also made a traditional festival of folklore, fairs and markets, all of ancient origin: among these, the cattle fair in Monte S. Quirico and the exhibition of birds, once in Piazza del Carmine, now in Borgo Giannotti.
September Lucchese: throughout the month, the city of Lucca hosts concerts, festivals, operas, cultural events, sporting events and traditional banquets in the old town and its immediate suburbs.