Archive photo: Blood ride in Weingarten © Felix Kastle
For half a millennium, the traditional Weingarten blood ride was not open to women. Starting from the coming year however each riding group may determine whether with it women may participate or not.
Europe's largest equestrian procession opens after half a millennium for women. After a year-long debate, the parish council of St. Marin in Weingarten now decided that from next year each riding group may determine for itself whether women may participate in it, as the diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart announced on Wednesday.
The dress code for the procession remains largely uniform: it now prescribes tailcoat and top hat, white shirt or white blouse, black patent leather shoes and white gloves.
Normally tens of thousands of spectators
The tradition dates back to the eleventh century, when the Weingarten monastery received parts of a Holy Blood relic from Mantua, Italy. According to legend, it contains soil mixed with the blood of Christ.
In the event in each case on Friday after Ascension take part about 100 blood rider groups. Tens of thousands of spectators attend the procession.