A well loved tradition: St. Leonhard Horse-back Procession
The end of each farming year is marked by a festive highlight which takes place on the 6th November (some celebrate this year already 4th November); the St. Leonhard horse-back procession, a festive pilgrimage in honour of St. Leonhard, the patron saint of livestock and horses.
St. Leonhard, often called the "Bayerischer Herrgott" (God of Bavaria), was originally the patron saint of prisoners and one of the 14 Holy Helpers. Today, St. Leonhard is venerated and esteemed as the patron saint of livestock and most particularly of horses, hence the tradition of riding to St. Leonhard’s chapel in his honour.
St. Leonhard Horse-back Procession in Bad Tölz
One of the most colourful and most famous pilgrimages on horse-back in Germany can be seen in Bad Tölz. In the early hours of the morning some 70 festively decorated four-in-hand drays and carriages and several hundred horses and people in traditional costume process to St. Leonhard’s chapel.
To the accompaniment of traditional music the processions wends its way back down the hill to the town where the celebrations continue. A highlight of the celebrations every year is the "Goaßlschnalzer" "Whip cracking" competition: whip swinging young men who have made whip swinging a real art.