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The Passion Play in Oberammergau, immaterial world heritage according to UNESCO



Jesus clears the Temple - © Passionsspiele 2000

The Passion Play in Oberammergau (district of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Upper-Bavaria) is the world’s most famous Easter Passion play. Performed entirely by the villagers of Oberammergau, it takes several hours and depicts the 5 last days in the life of Jesus Christ.

The first Passion play was put on stage in 1634 after the villagers had vowed to God that they would stage a play depicting the life and death of Jesus if God spared them from the plague. From 1680 on, the play was staged every 10 years, normally in the last year of every decade. At the most recent presentation, in 2010, more than 2400 inhabitants from Oberammergau were involved -- this is half of the Oberammergau village.

The roles are distributed 1 year in advance: from then on, male actors will let their hair and beards grow. All parts are doubled, and even children participate in the show: they are relieved of school obligations during the representations period, and can leave class during rehearsal months. Many actors have to accomodate their own jobs to the rehearsals and representations schedules, in order to be able to play. The open-air stage can host more than 1000 people and complete animal herds.

In 2014 the Passion Play in Oberammergau was recognized by UNESCO as an immaterial world culture heritage item.

The next Passion Play in Oberammergau will take place in 2020. To stay informed, you can register on their mailing list here.

Read more: www.bavaria.by