Nationwide Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage
Carriage Rides for Saint Leonhard of Noblac in Bad Tölz
In Bad Tölz (Bavaria) a pilgrimage to St. Leonhard takes place every year: the “Tölzer Leonhardifahrt”. More than 80 splendidly decorated quadrigas participate, pulled exclusively by cold-blood horses. On top sit a wagoner and pilgrims dressed in festive costumes and habits, among them clergy and ministries, councilors of the city council, marching bands, guards and children.
Facts & figures
Crucial date: around the 6th of November
Domains: social practices, rituals and festive events
Where to find: in Bad Tölz (Bavaria)
The Leonhardi pilgrimage is begins at 9 am with bells of all of Tölz’ churches ringing. The destination is the Leonhardi chapel on Kalvarienberg, where horses and pilgrims are blessed. Afterwards, a festive open-air mass takes place. Afterwards, the whole crowd returns together to the city.
In the early afternoon, boys and young men from the city and the surrounding countryside as “Goaßlschnalzer” let their “Dreschgoaßln” (wagoner’s whips) resound rhythmically. The day ends late at night after spontaneous brass music.
In Bad Tölz and in the Isarwinkel the “Tölzer Leonhardifahrt” is highly valued and understood as “Tölz’ National Day”. Locals often participate from early childhood on, e.g. as members in associations devoted to youth work, such as associations for traditional habits and shooting, or marching bands. Tölz’ schools are closed on the day of the “Leonhardifahrt”, so that all students can experience the pilgrimage either as participants or as spectators.
For many generations the Tölzer Leonhardifahrt has been happening as a confession of faith and tradition. The people of Tölz, the Isarwinkel and beyond feel closely linked with each other and with the city because of this pilgrimage. Despite the modern, fast-moving times, many young people value the tradition well. Therefore, filling over 1000 seats on the wagon every year poses no problems.