History of the Passion Play of Oberammergau

Jesus makes his tirumphant entry into Jerusalem in the Passion Play of Oberammergau

The Plague

The history of the Oberammergau Passion Play dates back to the seventeenth century. In 1633 the Black Plague, also known as the bubonic plague, rampaged through Europe, killing thousands. For months the small village of Oberammergau managed to keep the dreaded disease at bay, mainly because of its remote location in the Bavarian Alps. Eventually, the epidemic struck the nearby town of Ettal.

The people of Oberammergau, however, controlled the spread of the disease by keeping close watch and preventing strangers from entering their village. Alas, late one evening, a villager who had been away, homesick for his family, stole back into the town and unknowingly brought the plague to his people. Within a few months 84 villagers had died.

The Promise

In July 1633 the survivors gathered and made a solemn oath to God: if He spared them from further deaths, they would perform every ten years a day-long play depicting the Passion of the Christ. According to the story passed down through the generations, God heard them and there were no more deaths.

In 1634 the townspeople first performed their Passion Play at Pentacost over the graves of plague victims. Eventually their vow was adopted by their children and their descendants. To this day, the villagers of Oberammergau have kept their promise virtually unbroken.

The Play

Today the Passion Play is the most famous play in history. It's a five-hour musical drama that follows the last five days of Jesus' life from the time He entered Jerusalem through His crucifixion and resurrection. The 2020 performance will include spoken dramatic text and opera-style singing backed by a full orchestra and chorus. Interspersed throughout will be narrated tableaux vivants ("living pictures") with motionless actors depicting scenes from Old Testament that act as a bridge between the Old and New Testaments.

Work with a Tour Operator You Can Trust

As in previous performance years, Passion Play 2020 tickets will be high demand. It is critical that you make your plans with a reputable travel company like Nawas International. In past years, many other tour hosts, dealing with irresponsible or inexperienced travel agents, encountered major problems because of ticket shortages. Some groups were canceled at the last minute while others arrived to find they did not have tickets to the Play. All of Nawas's travelers attended the play. You can be assured that if you book the Passion Play 2020 with Nawas, you will attend the play. As one of the leading Christian tour operators to Europe and the Holy Land, Nawas will receive play tickets directly from the Passion Play Committee at Oberammergau and we expect to have one of the largest blocks of tickets with arrangements for every performance date.

Click here to get more information on Nawas' Passion Play 2020 programs and receive updates.

Watch Highlights from Passion Play 2010

See the pageantry, drama, and superb singing and acting awaiting you in 2020.

Passion Play News

Oberammergau 2020

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