• Faithful take to boats in annual Corpus Christi lake procession in Bavaria
  • Seehausen (Germany), Jun 15 (efe-epa).- Dozens of Catholic faithful clad in beautifully-tailored traditional Bavarian clothes cast off on Thursday aboard a flotilla of boats on a lake in southern Germany to celebrate the annual Feast of Corpus Christi, as seen in images captured by an epa photographer on the site.

    In this mainly Catholic region of Bavaria, the feast traces its origins back to the early 13th century when a Belgian nun, Juliana of Liège, had a vision and petitioned Pope Urban IV to institute a solemnity to celebrate the Eucharist.

    To commemorate this series of events, parishioners belonging to St. Michael's church in the town of Seehausen, took to boats and rowed across the Staffelsee, a picturesque lake surrounded by mountains.

    As evident in pictures supplied by epa, processioners took advantage of a sunny day to savor a combination of liturgical music featuring trumpets, clarinets and drums as well as folk tradition imbued with reverent piety.

    The processions here, which only date back to 1935, was this year led by a main barge carrying the parish priest, religious effigies and a choir.

    Most of the participants were residents of the town _ whose full name is Seehausen am Staffelsee _ of about 2,400 inhabitants located on the lake's eastern shore, some 650 kilometers to the south of Germany's capital, Berlin.

    The rest followed on smaller rowboats to an island in the middle of the lake named Wörth.

    There, the community proceeded to the altar in the Chapel of Saint Simpert, one of the patron saints of the nearby city of Augsburg and among the most venerated figures in Bavarian Catholicism.

    In Bavaria, the Corpus Christi processions are called "Fronleichnamsprozessionen" ("Fronliechnam" means "dead body of Christ" in Middle High German) and constitute the centerpiece of the day's celebrations.

    The procession path is usually lined by birch trees, while the streets are strewn with fresh grass and covered by a carpet of flowers.

    In one of the epa photographs, an arrow made of blossoms is shown indicating the way to the start of the lake procession.

    In another, girls dressed in full-length white gowns _ some sporting red flowers tucked into their necklines, some crowned with daisy chains _ can be seen parading, their hands folded in supplicant prayer.

    Male processioners wore white shirts and green feathered Bavarian hats, with the traditional "Lederhosen" (leather shorts) held up by suspenders colorfully decorated with floral motifs.

    Parasols were another recurring feature, as the strenuous rowing was compounded by a blazing sun that is not always guaranteed anywhere in Germany, no matter the date.

    The Corpus feast falls on the fist Thursday after Trinity Sunday (60 days after Easter); next year, it is set to be held on May 31.