The Landshut wedding is a medieval spectacle that must be the pinnacle of all the medieval festivals. Everything here is done exactly as it happened in 1475 during the wedding of Princess Jadwiga of Poland and Duke George the Rich. From the costumes, to the order in the procession, to the transportation of the feeble Duke Ludwig the Rich in a sedan chair. And let’s not forget the tournament which followed after the procession.
We arrived in Landshut, Bavaria, around 11am on Sunday with ample time to make our way to our hosts. They are in the happy position to have an apartment right where the procession passes by and have a balcony looking out at it. Which in this gothic city is a rarity. I’ve seen only one other balcony downtown.
Not only would we have pole position to follow the procession but there was also an unbelievable lunch! Just look at the delicacies on offer. A hand-made salami from Italy, vitello tonnato, Roastbeef with condiments, a cheese plate, a chicken curry salad which was to die for, the best Waldorf salad that I’ve ever eaten and, and, and. You will probably understand that I went back countless times. It was all just so good.
Which turned out to be exactly the right base for the Prosecco which was my preferred drink of choice. With all that happening before the wedding procession it was suddenly time to go to the balcony and start watching.
The procession started at 2pm with four gun salutes from the castle above the city and commenced in the parallel street. So about half an hour later the wedding procession arrived below our balcony and the spectacle began for us. The costumes were amazing, every little detail taken care of and nothing too small not to be taken serious. The official rules states that men and women have to have a minimum hair length to participate. If you are bald you need a special permit to be part of it all (or maybe a special skill as I noticed later). I shot countless videos of the procession and the best of them I’ve uploaded to my YouTube page which you can find here.
The procession passed us and made a u-turn about 100m further so that saw everything up close. When does one get the chance to see an emperor (Frederic III.), dukes and a princess? But also the free folk (Roma and other landless people who were at the bottom of the middle age social pyramid) was part of it and made up the end of the procession.
Once this was over we had only a little time to catch our breath and relax a bit before it was time for next event. The knights tournament. Just 10 minutes on foot through the old town
brought us to the festival area where a huge food area hid the tribunes of the stadium. A parapet for the royal wedding guests was on one side and tribunes for 10000 guests on the other. The green field in the middle was going to be the playground for the horses and their riders.
In one long procession all participants of the wedding train walked on the field and took their places according to their station. Once everyone was seated the tournament started with the flag bearers whose performance was worthy of an Olympic career (click here to see). Next up was the quintain session. So impressive when they hit the stamp sized target with the lance. But even more so when they missed. Because then the quintain would turn around and hit the rider. With little leather balls only, but still. In former times it was an iron ball. That must have hurt. Then came the “Ringelstecher” (picking up a ring with the lance in full gallop)
and finally the tournament started. The goal was to break the lance on the breast-plate of the opponent. Since this happened only once I missed that moment. But I made a nice video of another “fight”.
After the winner was crowned with a box-tree wreath the bride and groom left the jousting field and so were we. The Landshut Wedding is still shown the next two weekends. After that you have to wait another four years. Yours, Pollybert