Passion-Play in Oberammergau, the once in a lifetime chance

Categories: Sightseeing, Cultural and History, Entertainment

Passion-Play stage
Passion-Play stage

[ source: Wikipedia]

From the 15th of May until the 3rd of October 2010 the eyes of the world will once again focus on Oberammergau (Oberammergau vacation rentals | Oberammergau travel guide), the small town in the Ammengauer Alps, Upper Bavaria. The preparation for the 41th world renowned Passion-Play is well on its way and if you like to witness this mega event, it is time to make your travel preparations and bookings now!

The Passion-Play at Oberammergau runs for 5 consecutive months at the end of each decade and every performance runs for 6 - 7 hours with a meal served during intermission. The Passion-Play is a dramatic reenactment of the Passion of Christ. The history of the Oberammergau Passion-Play started in 1633, in the middle of the most destructive Thirty Years War and after months of suffering and death from the plague, the citizens of Oberammergau swore an oath, that they would perform the Play of the Suffering, Death and Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ every ten years. Legend has it, that thereafter not one more citizen died of the plague.

The tradition of the Passion-Play at Oberammergau all started back in 1633 when the black death reached the village during the Thirty Years War and the citizens turned to God for help. Nearly every other family had deaths to mourn and so they all came together at the cemetery and swore an oath to portray the suffering and death of the Lord every 10 years. They also erected a symbol of Christ on poles and crossbars, etching by the Oberammergauer artist Hans Schwaighofer. At Pentecost, in the year 1634, they fulfilled their pledge for the first time on a stage, constructed above the fresh graves of the plague victims.

The Passion-Play shows the trial, suffering and death of Jesus Christ in a dramatic fashion. The play is linked to the Lent, an important time before the Easter celebrations for Christian denominations, primarily in the Catholic Church. What makes this Passion-Play so outstanding in the world is the fact, that it is only held once every 10 years. The actors, directors, scriptwriters, stage set coordinators, technicians, musicians and all other supporting members of the production are solely citizens of Oberammergau and in this way still honoring the pledge of their ancestors, given nearly 380 years ago. Over 2,000 people take part in this play and auditions start 2-3 years before the actual event. The men start to grow their hair to look the part when applying for a role and the most prestigious part is of course the role of Jesus Christ.

In 1830, the 22nd Passion Play year, Ludwig I granted permission for the play under the condition that the stage would be no longer erected over the cemetery. This is when the stage was set up on a meadow on the northwestern edge of town. Its ground plan determined the structure of the Passion Play Theater to the present day. At that times 5,000 spectators could be accommodated in front of the stage. From 1830 to 1850 a more romantic view of the play was discovered in line with the Zeitgeist and widely publicized. Since 1870 people from all over the world started to come and witness the Passion-Play in Oberammergau and an ever growing popularity turned it into the mega event, which it is today

In the year 2000 the Passion-Play was sold out and the same is projected for the year 2010. If you like to join this event, you should make a decision soon and maybe you like to combine your trip to Germany with other, great destinations and things to explore in Bavaria.



About this Article

Monika Petra

This travel guide has been written by Monika Petra.

In her own words: When children are born they receive certain gifts to put them to good use or not. In my cradle there must have been at least music and the curiosity for the world we live in. Luckily I could combine those gifts eventually. My live as a jazz vocalist guided me to see and experience many places in Germany and far beyond. As in my music I like to dive in the historical background of given facts, simply to understand the present. During my travel, my circles got wider and wider and since many years I am now living in Thailand, very interesting to say the least. I grew up in Paderborn, lived and studied Jazz in Cologne's Musikhochschule and worked a while in Bayreuth and Kulmbach. My travels throughout Germany took me to all major cities and small towns. It was the people and local differences, be it language, food, traditions and customs, which made it a lot of fun. When finally the wall came down, I was one of those in Berlin posing on the rests of it for the camera. Off course I took the first opportunity to rediscover the new but old states of Germany and finally understood the impact the wall had on all Germans and in regards to the worst part in German history. Being a German living abroad, I discovered in years what I value most about Germany. Rest assured it is a country of rich cultural background still alive today. I visit my home country regularly and stay in touch with my friends, even those back from school. Another thing I always felt passionate about is writing and sharing my experience and thoughts. The internet provides us all with a great opportunity to connect, tell stories, read and learn from others and grow as a global community.

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Location, Map, and Driving Directions

Location: Eugen-Papst-Straße 9a, 82487 Oberammergau, Germany

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