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The 1990 Passion Play in Oberammergau, Germany

Updated on November 12, 2012

OBERAMMERGAU, GERMANY IN 1900

The Passion Play in Oberammergau, Germany

The Stage of the Passion Play  in 2000
The Stage of the Passion Play in 2000
Jesus Christ And John in the 1900 Performance
Jesus Christ And John in the 1900 Performance
Jesus Emerging from the Tomb
Jesus Emerging from the Tomb
Henry Ford Attending the 1930 Passon Play
Henry Ford Attending the 1930 Passon Play
The Kofel, Oberammergau's Signature Mountain
The Kofel, Oberammergau's Signature Mountain
The Parish Church of St. Peter and Paul
The Parish Church of St. Peter and Paul
Parish Church Dome
Parish Church Dome
Parish Church Organ Gallery
Parish Church Organ Gallery
Scene of Little Red Riding Hood
Scene of Little Red Riding Hood
Frescoes Adorning a Home
Frescoes Adorning a Home
Woodcarving - Nativity Group
Woodcarving - Nativity Group
Woodcarvings for Sale
Woodcarvings for Sale

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The Passion Play in Oberammergau, Germany

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In 1634, the residents of Oberammergau, Germany, took a vow to perform the passion play, depicting the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ every ten years forever, after having been spared from the bubonic plague.

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2020 will be the 42nd production of this play, but if you are planning to obtain reservations on your own, you had better start now.

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Tour companies, like American Express, began making their reservations last year. Don’t worry if you can’t plan that far in advance. I was able to book a tour, which included tickets to the 1990 Passion Play less than one year in advance, and I highly recommend it.

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The play is performed daily from mid May until early October and lasts about eight hours including a long lunch break. Only residents of Oberammergau are allowed to participate and almost half of the slightly more than 5000 residents are involved. The fourteen stations of the cross are presented with scenery changes in between.

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The most challenging role belongs to the young man who portrays Jesus Christ. During the crucifixion scene, he is tied to the cross and hoisted into the air for a full 18 minutes. In front of your very eyes, his body slowly turns blue as the oxygen is restricted by the ropes, which bind him. By the time the scene ends, his whole body is a bright shade of bluish purple, and he repeats this daily from May to October.

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There is ample time during the lunch break to tour this picturesque village. In the center you will find the parish church of St. Peter and Paul. Be sure to go inside and view the beautiful paintings inside the dome and in the organ gallery.

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Oberammergau is also famous for its frescoes of traditional Bavarian themes including fairy tales and religious themes painted on the homes and buildings.

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The village of Oberammergau is the home of the Bavarian State Woodcarving School. Dozens of woodcarver shops line the streets of the town displaying pieces ranging from religious subjects to toys and humorous portraits. It is a great place to stroll around but bring your money because there are many tempting souvenirs for sale.

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As a final thought, I should tell you that the 1990 Passion Play in Oberammergau was not my first introduction to a presentation of the stations of the cross. As a teenager in the 1950s, St. Therese church in Schofield, Wisconsin, used to present "the living stations of the cross" weekly during Lent.

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One year, my brother and I both participated. My brother Larry, who died in 1999, is Pontius Pilate in the upper photograph and I am the Roman soldier with the helmet on the right in the lower photo.

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2010 Oberammergau Passion Play

Oberammergau, Germany

OBERAMMERGAU, GERMANY

show route and directions
A markerMunich, Germany -
Munich, Germany
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B markerOberammergau, Germany -
Oberammergau, Germany
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The Living Stations of the Cross

Upper Photo - My Brother as Pontius Pilate Lower Photo - I am the Roman Soldier on the Right
Upper Photo - My Brother as Pontius Pilate Lower Photo - I am the Roman Soldier on the Right
Both Photos - I am the Roman Soldier on the Right
Both Photos - I am the Roman Soldier on the Right

The Passion Play in Oberammergau, Germany

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    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 

      6 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Wonderful and interesting hub! Great pics. Would love to see the play and Oberammergau some day.

    • profile image

      Sueswan 

      6 years ago

      Thank you for sharing this one with us.

      I admire the dedication to God these citizens have.

      Voted up and awesome.

    • arusho profile image

      arusho 

      6 years ago from University Place, Wa.

      Good hub. It's amazing that they have been performing the play since 1634!

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