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    Germany's Annual Pentecost Ride Celebrates 600 Years

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    NTDTelevision

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    More than 900 horsemen attended the 600th annual Pentecost Ride on Monday in Bad Koetzting in southwestern Germany.

    In the biggest procession in Europe on the Pentecost weekend was accompanied by the bishop of Regensburg Gerhard Ludwig Mueller.

    Tens of thousand of onlookers lined the way to get a glimpse of the horses which were decorated elaborately and the horsemen in traditional costumes.

    The pilgrimage led from Bad Koetzting to a church in Steinbuehl about seven kilometers away.

    [Wolfgang Ludwig, Mayor of Bad Koetzting]:
    "The ride is extraordinary if the weather plays along. And the impressions when we ride through the beautiful Bavarian countryside, that is a very good feeling."

    According to the legend in 1412 a priest was to bring the sacrament to a dying man in the tiny church in nearby Steinbuehl.

    Since bandits lurked along the way, some young men from the village protected the priest on horseback.

    After the successful journey, the lads vowed to undertake the journey annually.

    Women are not allowed to take part in the procession.

    Pentecost is a prominent holiday in the Christian calendar, commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the remaining eleven Apostles of Christ.

    For this reason, Pentecost is sometimes described as the "Birthday of the Church."

    Pentecost is celebrated seven weeks (50 days) after Easter Sunday.