Landshut Wedding to center on reenactment

NEW YORK -- Landshut, a town in southern Germany, will host one of Europe's largest pageants next summer.

The Landshut Wedding, which runs from June 30 to July 22, involves the citizens of Landshut in processions, festivals, games and concerts centered around the reenactment of a royal wedding the town hosted in 1475 between Duke George the Rich and Princess Hedwig of Poland.

Landshut is about 25 miles northeast of Munich Airport and accessible by train or car for those staying in the Bavarian capital.

The Landshut Wedding festivities are staged every four years; they were first performed in 1903.

Thousands of local residents don costumes from the late Middle Ages for some of the festival's events, which attract large numbers of domestic and international visitors.

The reenactment of the wedding is held on Sunday afternoons during the festival period, starting with a Bridal Pageant procession through the streets by some 2,000 costumed participants, dressed as noblemen, soldiers, tradesmen and beggars.

The procession moves to the tournament ground, where visitors can join the royal guests as they watch knights in armor engage in rounds of jousting on horseback.

Other elements of the Landshut Wedding festivities include:

  • The Night Masque, a burlesque-style show held several evenings a week, in which actors perform medieval song-and-dance numbers in the courtyard of the duke's residence (or in the town hall if weather is bad).
  • The Festival Play, a stage presentation in which actors re-create the bride's journey from Poland to Landshut and her preparations for the big wedding.
  • Music of the Middle Ages, played on Saturday and Sunday mornings outside the duke's residence or in the Church of the Holy Spirit, presented on instruments of the time by costumed performers and vocalists.
  • Performances of medieval dances on Saturday afternoons and weekday evenings at the town hall.
  • Camp Life, a reenactment of the daily life of out-of-town "wedding guests" living in an outdoor camp set up near the tournament grounds.
  • Costumed locals in the camp roast suckling pigs, toast each other with tankards of beer and engage in spontaneous music making, juggling and other traditional games and entertainment.

    Some of the events have reserved seating for ticketholders, but many parts of the festivities can be seen on the streets or in other outdoor venues for free or for a modest charge. A number of street performers such as musicians and jugglers can be seen wandering around town.

    For more information, visit the Wedding's Web site at http://www.landshut.idowa.net/hochzeit/index_uk.html, or contact the German National Tourist Office in New York at (212) 661-7200, fax (212) 661-7174, e-mail [email protected] or on the Web at www.germany-tourism.de.

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