Date 2019: 10th JuneWitness Europe's largest procession on horseback, which leads through the Bavarian Forest. This tradition goes back to 1412. Over the years, the Kötztinger Pfingstritt has grown into one of Europe's largest pilgrimages on horseback. Thousands of visitors will line its path to watch the procession.
The custom goes back to a vow made in 1412. A man lay dying in the village of Steinbühl, around 7 kilometres away from Bad Kötzting. He wished for nothing more but to receive the last rites before dying. The priest, who had to be summoned from Bad Kötzting, asked the young men of Kötzting to accompany him as the journey was difficult and dangerous. They did not hesitate and, as soon as their party had arrived safely back in Bad Kötzting from Steinbühl, they took a solemn vow to repeat this ride every year.
The procession leaves on Whit Monday morning, led by a cross bearer, headed for the Whit Riders' pilgrimage church St Nikolaus in Steinbühl. A special service is held there for the riders. After a break, they start back towards Bad Kötzting around lunchtime, where the religious part of the Whit Ride ends with a brief ceremony.
A Volksfest, or festival and fair, is held before, during and after the procession day. One of the highlights of the Whit week is the symbolic Whit wedding. A Whit bridegroom is nominated, who may then choose his Whit bride. Dressed in traditional costumes, the 'couple' then parade through the town's festively decorated streets to the venue Haus des Gastes, where the symbolic Whit wedding takes place.