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Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany

Corpus Christi Procession

Celebrating the Eucharist, the day is a legal holiday in many parts of Germany. 

Called “Fronleichnam” in German, Corpus Christi day is celebrated on a Thursday 60 days after Easter Sunday. The day honors the Eucharist (Holy Communion, Lord’s Supper), which is important in the Catholic church. Corpus Christi is a public holiday in the states of Baden-Wuerttemberg, Bavaria, Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, and Saarland and in some parts of Sachsen and Thuringia. It is marked by parades for the blessed sacrament (in the form of bread or wafers).

In Garmisch-Partenkirchen, families dressed in traditional Bavarian attire assemble at the churchyard shortly after 8:00 a.m., and the procession is formed. Carrying jeweled statues of the Virgin Mary and of the saints, and accompanied by the sound of church bells and hunting horns, the parishioners march through the village before returning to the church for a communion service.

Corpus Christi became a Christian feast following the work of the nun known as Juliana of Liege, a city now in Belgium. She lived from 1193 until 1252 and repeatedly had visions of Jesus reminding her that there was no special feast day for the Blessed Sacrament. Many Christians celebrated the festival as far back as 1246.