Georgiritt (St. George's Parade)

March-April, Monday after Easter
St. George is honored each year at Traunstein in Bavaria, Germany, and in other Bavarian villages on Easter Monday to mark April 23, the day on which he is said to have been martyred in 303. The Georgiritt, or St. George's Parade, commemorates the legend of George's victory over the dragon that was threatening the pagan city of Sylene by demanding that humans be sacrificed to feed it. St. George killed the dragon, saved the king's daughter (who was next in line to be sacrificed), and converted Sylene's 15,000 citizens to Christianity.
Because St. George is usually depicted on horseback, the farmers of Traunstein decorate their own horses with garlands and ribbons and ride them across the fields and three times around the parish church. After the local priest blesses the horses and other farm animals, the procession turns toward the village. The festival ends with ritualistic sword dances that have been handed down from medieval times.
See also St. George's Day
FestWestEur-1958, p. 64
Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.
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