The Saga of the Bayard Steed and its four riders has its origins in a medieval chanson de geste told throughout the greater part of Europe. Wandering minstrels, folk tales and processions popularised such universal heroic epics. The story deals in particular with the problematic nature of feudalism, during the early Middle Ages and dates back to Charlemagne.
For years and years, Aymon, Lord of Dendermonde, has lived in disagreement with his lord, Charlemagne. The four sons of Aymon continue this fight and can count on the loyal services of their horse, Ros Beiaard. After years of war and fighting, Charlemagne delivers an ultimatum : peace in exchange for Bayard. The faithful horse is drowned at the confluence of the rivers Dender and Scheldt.
But Bayard is very much alive in the parade of the Bayard Steed. Every ten years the horse and its four riders hold their triumphal procession through town.
In Belgium and much further, Dendermonde is known as the town of the Bayard Steed. It is the only place in the world where the heroic horse forms the central theme of a historic parade. Its last appearance dating from May 30th 2010, the pride and glory of Dendermonde is to make a new round of the town in 2020.
The Giants of the Guilds
If you cannot wait till the next Bayard Steed parade and you want to enjoy medieval folklore at its best, you can come to the annual Traditional Giants Parade, Katuit. On the last Thursday of August our three giants Indiaan, Mars and Goliath parade through the town, accompanied by 1000 actors in medieval attire.
Floats, bands, flag-throwers, professional street performers and torchbearers enhance the event. Spectacular musically accompanied fireworks conclude the evening. In 2005 UNESCO added the Bayard Steed and the three giants to its World Heritage List.