History of Oberammergau
In 1633, 15,000 people perished in Munich alone as a result of the bubonic
plague which was ravishing the country. Frightened by the threat of death,
the people of Oberammergau placed a vow to God – they vowed that if He
spared them from this terrible illness they would perform a play depicting
the suffering, dying and resurrection or Our Lord Jesus Christ. The town was
spared of further calamity. The first Passion Play was preformed in a
meadow by the villagers of Oberammergau in 1634. A tradition was born.
After 1674 the people of Oberammergau changed the play to 1680, so it
would be preformed at the start of each decade. The Passion Play is an
extraordinary community enterprise. The inhabitants begin preparing for
the play a year in advance with the men growing their hair and beards for
authenticity. The villagers themselves make the outstanding costumes and
performers in the play must be Oberammergau natives. The play comprises
of spoken dramatic text, with musical and choral accompaniment. The
Passion Play in Oberammergau has become one of the most popular
presentations of the Passion with hundreds of thousands of people flocking
to this tiny village in Germany every ten years.
Oberammergau 2022 Programme
In 2022, in the small village of Oberammergau located in the heart of the Bavarian Alps, the 42nd performance of the Passion Play will take place. About 2000 inhabitants take part in this 5 hour epic depicting the story of Christ’s passion beginning with His entry to Jerusalem and ending with the resurrection and transfiguration. The Passion Play was first performed in 1634. The people of Oberammergau made a vow to perform a Passion Play every ten years if God spared them from the bubonic plague. This event now draws in hundreds of thousands of pilgrims every ten years. The play is
performed in German but English translations are available.