The Passion play in Oberammergau (district of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Upper Bavaria) is the world’s most famous Easter Passion play. The show itself lasts several hours and depicts the 5 last days in the life of Jesus Christ… all performed entirely by the local villagers.
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 – which is half of the Oberammergau village.
The open-air stage can host more than 1000 people and complete animal herds.
The roles are distributed a year in advance: from then on, male actors will let their hair and beards grow. Many actors have to adjust their own jobs to the rehearsals and to interrupt their daily work in order to be able to play.
Even children participate in the show: during practising period they are relieved of school obligations and can leave class during rehearsal months.
In 2014 the Passion Play in Oberammergau was recognized by UNESCO as an immaterial world culture heritage.