Processions on horseback are traditional in many rural regions of Bavaria, Germany. At these festivals, the horses are all blessed in memory of the important contribution they made to agriculture in past times. Perhaps one of the most well known processions of its kind is Traunstein’s Easter horseback parade, the Georgiritt (St. George’s Day Horse Parade), record of which dates back to the 18th century.
Every year on Easter Monday, around 400 riders on decorated horses, parade in honour of St George from the centre of town to the small church of Etterschlag, accompanied by musicians, dancers and people dressed in traditional regional costumes. Once they’ve arrived at the church, the horses and their riders are blessed. Then follows a sword dance to symbolically drive away the winter and welcome in the spring.
This parade plays an important role in spreading the awareness of the value of animals whose perception has been greatly affected by the mechanisation of agriculture.
Check out these fantastic photographs of the parade, captured by photographer Philipp Guelland. Look at the detail in the plaiting of the manes and tails – amazing!
Spectators line the route as the horses and riders parade to the local church.
The intricate braiding of the horse’s mane, complete with decorative ribbons.
Even the priest takes part in the procession on horseback, before he performs a blessing on each horse and rider.
We’re talking decorations from all angles here globetrotters, even the tails!
Imagine the time spent plaiting and adding in all the detail.
George’s entrance is celebrated. With such heavy metal, a sturdy horse is a must.
The swordsman’s dance to drive away the winter and welcome the spring.
Looks like a lot of fun don’t you think?
Image credits: Philipp Guelland/Getty Images via The Guardian