Oberammergau: the Passion Play

The Passion Play in Oberammergau is a momentous event that has been taking place every 10 years for over 380 years.  Over 2000 inhabitants of this tiny German town in the Bavarian Alps bring the play to life for more than 400,000 visitors.

Oberammergau The Passion PlayHistory of Oberammergau

A centuries’ old human tragedy is remembered in modern times with theatre performances so compelling that they draw people come from around the world, such is the legend of the small town of Oberammergau.

Almost 400 years ago, the region was in the grip of a dreadful, contagious disease: the horrific Black Plague, which it is said, killed over half the population of Europe. Surrounded also by a devastating war, the townspeople of the Oberammergau, deeply religious Roman Catholics, swore that they’d perform a play about the last five days in the life of Jesus. And if they were spared the plague and the war, they’d continue to perform the play – a “passion play” — every 10 years.

They were indeed spared, and the play continues every 10 years even today, is much more than simply a pilgrimage for devout Catholics.

Passion Theater OberammergauThe Passion Play  in 2020

In 2020, the 42nd edition of the Oberammergau Passion Play will be performed, bringing in visitors from around the world who are fascinated by tradition, culture, and a small town wrapped up in this singular event.

And no surprise here: tickets are already on sale and they are going fast.

OberammergauMany Canadians will choose Collette Tours for their visit to the next Passion Play, which will be performed between May 16 and October 4, 2020. During the last Play, in 2010, Collette was proud to host 10,000 passengers on its escorted group tours – and they are expecting similar numbers for the year 2020.

Among the benefits Collette brings to the experience are that the company operates tours every year, not just Play years, to Oberammergau, so they know the destination intimately. Collette features hotels which are close to the theatre – important at such a busy and inevitably crowded time. And with Collette you’ll be seated in some of the best seats in the house.

What’s also appealing is that Collette has packaged Oberammergau as part of seven delightful escorted motorcoach itineraries so that you can explore some of the prettiest parts of Central Europe on the same vacation. The tours, which range from 9 to 13 days, will feature just Bavaria (southern Germany), or Oberammergau in conjunction with Germany’s Romantic and Fairy Tale Roads or tours Austria and Switzerland. Reserve the Imperial Cities tour and you’ll also enjoy Budapest, Prague, Vienna, Bratislava and more. Or experience some of the most stunning scenery in the world on board a Glacier Express train ride through the Alps.

Whichever itinerary you choose, it’s guaranteed that the Passion Play will be a highlight. It’s almost impossible to grasp the magnitude and importance of the event. The actors, who are all amateurs, must all be born in Oberammergau or have lived there 20 years.

And despite the centuries of tradition, the play is an evolving creation: for example, in 2020 80% of the music will be new. And the cast will total over 2,000 participants. As ever, Oberammergau 2020 promises to be a remarkable experience. And when you think that if you miss it this time around, your next chance won’t be until 2030. No wonder Collette is busy selling the 2020 version!

Contact your Vision Travel Advisor to learn more.