If you happen to be in rural Bavaria today, chances are that you are going to witness a Leonhardi horse carriage procession. They take place annually on November 6 and date back to 15th century.
The colourful processions take place in honour of the holy horse and livestock patron Saint Leonhard and they are highlights of centuries-old Bavarian farming traditions. Beautifully decorated horses will pull numerous festively clad carriages and parade participants dressed in traditional costumes will make their way through the streets. Beer tents and traditional dance performances are also part of the festivities. The tradition of the Leonhardiritt, meanwhile, is also linked to Kreuth, where the event was first recorded, in 1442.
One of the best-known and most beautiful Leonhardiritt celebrations takes place in Bad Tölz. This event attracts thousands of spectators and features some 80 decorated horse-drawn wagons, including the so-called Tafelwagen — distinctive wooden carriages, exquisitely painted with traditional folk art motifs.
St. Leonhard is often called the "Bayerischer Herrgott" (God of Bavaria), originally he was the patron saint of prisoners and 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.