AskDefine | Define cavalcade

Dictionary Definition

cavalcade n : a procession of people traveling on horseback

User Contributed Dictionary



From French, from Old French, from the Old Italian cavalcata from cavalcare, which meant to ride on horseback, from Medieval Latin caballicāre, from the Latin caballus, which means horse.


  • /ˈkævəlˌkeɪd/ or /ˌkævəlˈkeɪd/
  • Rhymes: -eɪd


  1. A company of riders.
  2. A parade.
  3. A trail ride, usually more than one day long



company of riders

Extensive Definition

A cavalcade is a procession or parade (of sorts) on horseback, or a mass trail ride by a company of riders. The focus of a cavalcade is participation rather than display; often, the participants do not wear costumes or ride in formation. Often, a cavalcade re-enacts an important historical event and follows a long distance trail. A cavalcade may also be a pilgrimage.
Many cavalcades involve ceremonial entries into and departures from towns and villages along the way. A small version of such a ceremonial entry is the grand entry that is traditional in many rodeos. Long distance cavalcades may acquire more riders with each departure.

United States

In New Mexico, Philmont Scout Ranch includes cavalcades among its programs. The annual pilgrimage to El Santuario de Chimayó includes a cavalcade of cars on Good Friday. Traditionally, the pilgrimage is made on foot; a few pilgrims ride horses. The annual Cabalgata Binacional Villista terminates in Columbus.



In Sonora, cavalcades are regular annual events in March and October.
On 26 through 28 October 2007 the Governor of the State of Sonora, Eduardo Bours Castelo, and the regional Cattlemen's Association led a cavalcade of approximately 7,000 Cowboys from primarily the local area, the state of Sonora, some other Mexican states and several western U.S. states. The cavalcade was called "Remontando El Río Sahuaripa 2007," and the route covered 61 kilometers beginning in Sahuaripa going south following the river upstream, through the municipality of Arivechi, passing the banks of the Cajon de Onapa Reservoir Lake and ending in the village of Guisamopa. The cowboys and horses were fed and supplied by an elaborate "Chuck Wagon" system. That cavalcade is the focal end stage of the 500 km (311 mile) Cabalgando por Sonora from the Río Sonora to the Sierra Alta.


In Chihuahua, two separate cavalcades are devoted to the history of the Mexican Revolution and Francisco (Pancho) Villa.
In February and March, the Cabalgata Binacional Villista commemorates the 9 March 1916 invasion of the United States by Pancho Villa's men. The first cavalcade took place in 1999 and followed a relatively short route. A handful of riders were expected but over 80 showed up. In 2008 the 9th cavalcade began on 27 February in Ciudad Madera with more than 200 riders and over 10 days traversed 397 km (247 miles) north through towns and villages in northern Mexico (Ignacio Zaragoza, Buenaventura, Galeana, Nuevo Casas Grandes, Casas Grandes, Colonia Graciano Sánchez, Janos, Ascensión, Seis de Enero) to Puerto Palomas de Villa, arriving on 7 March with a complement of 400 riders and twice as many crew. On 8 March 100 riders continued across the United States–Mexico border 3 miles to the Pancho Villa State Park and Museum in the village of Columbus, New Mexico. In 2008, from the border the Villistas were accompanied by 200 American riders. The 8th cavalcade in 2007 was larger, with 500 riders arriving in Puerto Palomas de Villa. The 7th cavalcade in 2006 was smaller but the arrival of the 100 Villistas at Pancho Villa State Park coincided with ceremonies attended by New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, Chihuahua Governor José Reyes Baeza Terrazas, and many other dignitaries.
Horses traveling from Mexico to the United States normally are subject to quarantine of at least 3 days, but in 2006, 2007 and 2008 a special 12-hour waiver was obtained for up to 100 horses. (Hence the limit of 100 Villistas.) Before 2006, the Mexican horses were left behind in Mexico and the Villistas rode American horses from the border to the park.
In July the Cabalgata Jornada Villista commemorates Francisco "Pancho" Villa's assassination on 23 July 1923 in Parral. This cavalcade travels to Parral from Chihuahua City, a distance of 220 km (137 miles). Since its first occurrence in 1996, this cavalcade has grown progressively larger; in 2007 3,000 riders participated.

Coahuila, Nuevo León and Tamaulipas

In Coahuila, Nuevo León and Tamaulipas, on 12 March 2005 the fifth Cabalgata Interestatal (tri-state cavalcade) included 10,500 riders along a 10 km (6.2 miles) portion of its 52 km (32 miles) length. Participants included the Cherokee Nation of Mexico. This 2-day cavalcade travels from Hidalgo, Coahuila to Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas.


In Guanajuato, a cavalcade pilgrimage occurs at Epiphany to the shrine of Cristo Rey.


In Colombia, riding in cavalcades is a recreation enjoyed throughout the mountains. In Medellín, a cavalcade is an important part of the annual Festival of the Flowers.

New Zealand

In New Zealand, an annual Otago Goldfields Cavalcade is held. Different towns in Central Otago play host at the culmination of the cavalcade each year, with Cromwell, Ophir, and Clyde having been among the host towns. Some years the cavalcade's route follows the Dunstan Trail, a principal route of the Central Otago Gold Rush, from Clarks Junction near Middlemarch to the site of the former Dunstan goldfields. This route covers much the same journey as the Otago Central Rail Trail, though is shorter and over far rougher terrain. The first re-enactment cavalcade was in 1991, from near Dunedin to Cromwell. More than 200 people (and 240 horses) took part in the 1991 cavalcade, and around 400 now regularly take part.


cavalcade in German: Kavalkade (Reiten)
cavalcade in Spanish: Cabalgata
cavalcade in Italian: Cavalcata (sfilata)

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

caravan, column, cortege, dress parade, flyover, funeral, line, march past, motorcade, mule train, pack train, parade, pomp, procession, promenade, review, skimmington, stream, string, train
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