Every year, one of the most important religious processions in Europe takes place in the city of Weingarten. The event is held on Friday, the day after Ascension. This last anniversary recalls the ascent to heaven of Christ and is celebrated 39 days after Easter. In fact, the procession of the Saint Blood of Weingarten has a very strong symbolic content.
The event pays homage to a reliquary containing drops of Jesus' blood and pieces of soil from Mount Golgotha, where the crucifixion took place. These precious relics were collected by Longino, whose remains are preserved in Mantua. In the city of Lombardy there are the first testimonies of the existence of these sacred relics (IX sec. d.c.). A part of these was brought by the Emperor Henry III to Bohemia in the middle of the XI century. After several passages, this relic came into possession of Judith, Duchess of Bavaria, who will leave it as a gift to the Weingarten monastery in 1094 after her death.
The peculiarity of this procession is its equestrian character. It is a real parade that attracts faithful and tourists also from abroad. In German Friday of this event is called Blutfreitag and the equestrian parade Blutritt. The venerated reliquary is preserved in the Abbey of Saint Martin, one of the most beautiful attractions of Weingarten. Here begins the religious celebration on Ascension Day. The following day the imposing equestrian parade sees riders, choirs, music and faithful united in the festive atmosphere that characterizes the procession. The latter in its present form dates back to the 15th century.