The Road to Bethlehem

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Passion Play at Oberammergau 2010

The Bavarian village of Oberammergau.

This summer marks the 41st season of the world's largest open-air theatrical performance of the story of Jesus of Nazareth at Oberammergau/Germany. The historic European play lasts five hours with a three-hour intermission for dinner, starting with Jesus entering Jerusalem and finishing with his resurrection. Nestled in the Alps of southern Germany, the traditional Bavarian village of Oberammergau first staged the passion play in 1634.

It was during the Thirty Years War that the deadly and contagious disease known as the Black Plague broke out in Europe. Before it ran its course, one out of three people were dead and untold misery remained. There was no chance to escape, but one town in the south of Germany escaped: Oberammergau. The townspeople of Oberammergau made a vow that if they were spared, they would give a play about the "Passion of Christ" every ten years. The fact that they were saved remains one of the most amazing mysteries in history. The first Passion Play took place in a meadow in 1634 with the parts played by local villagers. The tradition remains to this day, with all of the roles played by locals who must be of high ethical and moral standards who start growing hair and beards and sewing costumes years before the performance. Being part of this spectacular performance is a great honor to all.

Since then, the production has been held every decade in a year ending in zero. Half of Oberammergau's inhabitants will take part in the Oberammergau Passion Play 2010, more than 2,000 villagers.

Details: The production is staged five times a week in a 4,700-seat theatre from the beginning of May until the end of September 2010. For more information, visit www.oberammergautours.com


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