Every year, on the 14 August, the city council, the contrade and the parishes of Siena offer candles to the Virgin Mary, protectress of the city. A procession makes its way towards the cathedral, composed of the two most important representative bodies of the city: on the one hand, the church, made up of the parishioners and people of various contrade, which departs from the church of San Giorgio and which is joined on the Chiasso Largo by the other cohort, representatives of the seventeen contrade assembled by the municipality. The candle offered by the Council is blessed by the Archbishop and lit by the mayor and, mounted upon a special bronze candlestick, is placed in front of the Chapel of the Madonna del Voto. The candles offered by the contrade and the parishes are lit in turn over the following days of the year. The ceremony also sees the blessing of the banner that on 16 August will go to the winner of the Palio, the horse race held in honour of the Madonna Assunta.