Latin American Herald Tribune
Venezuela Overview
Venezuelan Embassies & Consulates Around The World
Sites/Blogs about Venezuela
Venezuelan Newspapers
Facts about Venezuela
Venezuela Tourism
Embassies in Caracas

Colombia Overview
Colombian Embassies & Consulates Around the World
Government Links
Embassies in Bogota
Sites/Blogs about Colombia
Educational Institutions


Crude Oil
US Gasoline Prices
Natural Gas

UK Pound
Australia Dollar
Canada Dollar
Brazil Real
Mexico Peso
India Rupee

Antigua & Barbuda
Cayman Islands

Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Lucia
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Costa Rica
El Salvador



What's New at LAHT?
Follow Us On Facebook
Follow Us On Twitter
Most Viewed on the Web
Popular on Twitter
Receive Our Daily Headlines

  HOME | Arts & Entertainment

Bavarian Town Defies Rain to Honor Saint with Horse-Drawn Carriage Procession

BAD TÖLZ, Germany – Despite having to brave a heavy downpour with plastic raincoats that covered their festive garb, the inhabitants of a small town in southern Germany celebrated on Monday the traditional feast of the local patron saint of animals by parading in old-fashioned horse-drawn carriages.

The Leonhardifahrt procession, held each year in honor of St. Leonard of Noblac, has been a staple of the Bavarian village of Bad Tölz – located 46 kilometers (29 miles) to the south of Munich – for centuries.

The epa photographer witnessed the locals, who were wrapped in their best attire in spite of the deluge, begin their pilgrimage at the foot of the Kalvarienberg (“Cavalry Hill”).

They drove in quaint hand-painted carriages sporting wheels which tradition requires must be made entirely of hammer-forged wrought iron instead of more comfortable materials like rubber.

Some 80 carriages carrying mostly women wearing period hats, elaborate jewelry and fox fur stoles took part in the parade, escorted by numerous male horse riders, to the delight of thousands of tourists in attendance.

According to legend, a sacred pagan tree once used stood at the spot on top of Cavalry Hill that now hosts a chapel which – despite being officially consecrated to Our Lady of Sorrows – is commonly known as the “Leonard Chapel” due to it containing a bust of the revered saint.

The beasts and their retinue slowly made their way up the hill to the chapel, where the horses – once indispensable elements of agricultural society – were blessed by the parish priest while revelers drank copious amounts of beer and schnapps.

The town’s first such procession took place in 1722, and it has been a yearly event – with few mostly wartime-related exceptions – since 1855.

A thunderous symphony marked the end of the feast as men cracked their horsewhips in the traditional “Goaßlschnalzen” custom – derived from a pagan ritual intended to chase away evil spirits – performed on Bad Tölz’s famed market street.

The Leonhardifahrt almost always takes place on Nov. 6, except when it coincides with a Sunday, in which case it is celebrated on the preceding Saturday.

In 2011, it was exceptionally moved to the following Monday, Nov. 7.

The famous ceremony draws an average of 20-25,000 visitors each year to the Bavarian village, which has a population of about 18,000.

St. Leonhard of Noblac was a Frankish saint from the 6th century AD.

At first considered the patron of prisoners, women in labor and diseased cattle, he was later elevated to the role of protector of animals in the deeply-Catholic region that is modern-day Bavaria.

The Leonhardifahrt has been designated by the state of Bavaria and the German federal UNESCO commission as part of the country’s intangible cultural heritage.


Enter your email address to subscribe to free headlines (and great cartoons so every email has a happy ending!) from the Latin American Herald Tribune:


Copyright Latin American Herald Tribune - 2005-2018 © All rights reserved