Oberammergau and the History of the Passion Play

Nearly 400 years ago the history of the Passion Play began.  In 1633 the Oberammergau villagers promised to perform the suffering, death and resurrection of Christ every tenth year, in so far as no one was to die of the plague anymore.  The villagers were answered by God and therefore in 1634 the first Passion Play took place.  The promise has been kept still today.  From May 16th to October 4th, 2020 the 42nd Passion Play will take place in Oberammergau.

Once a month the locals post a new blog post on their website, and I’m a fan and a follower for sure!

Here is the website that I follow: 

I have learned a lot about the actors and the directors, through this blog.

I love that the year 1680 was the first ten-year to host the Passion Play.  They began performing once every ten years after 1680, which was actually the 6th performance already.

I also find it incredibly interesting that in 1770, Elector Maximilian III has his Clerical Council impose a ban on all Passion Plays!  In 1780 the new Elector Karl Theodor allowed the people of Oberammergau to begin performing the Passion Play once again.

Again in 1810 there were no shows due to Elector Max IV Joseph!  Crazy!  So in 1811, which was the 19th year, there were 5 performances.

Another 11 performances in 1815, which is the 20th play year.

It’s been every 10 years since.  Except for 1920 performances were pushed back to 1922 due to the high number of fallen troops of the First World War.

Check out this crowd in 1880! 

I also found it amazing and awesome that in 1984 – the year of the jubilee play – all women were entitled to participate.  So in 1990 the role of Mary was played by a married woman for the very first time.

The history with this town and with the Passion Play is completely addicting!

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