Last year, I went on a very special creative cultural trip. It took me – out of all places – to the Bavarian village of Oberammergau, about an hour south of Munich, picturesquely surrounded by the Ammergau Alps. Why? Every ten years, the Oberammergau Passion Play takes place there. It is one of the most famous Passion Plays in the world thanks to almost half a million visitors at over 100 performances per season.
The 400-year-old tradition of hosting the Passion Play has turned Oberammergau into a centre for arts, crafts, history and hospitality: creative souls like me feel extremely welcome here, and I was even able to take part in a carving class with one of the village’s most famous wood sculptors, Tobias Haseidl! Check out more details about my trip and experiences in and around Oberammergau here: www.creativelena.com/en/travel-blog/travel-oberammergau-passion-play.
When exactly does the Oberammergau Passion Play take place?
The next Passion Play will take place from 14 May to 2 October 2022 and will include a total of 103 performances. Over two thousand amateur actors, including around 500 children, perform the Passion of Christ five days a week on the world’s largest open-air stage with around 4,500 covered seats. Wow! All performers must either have been born in Oberammergau or have lived in the village for at least 20 years; in addition, the so-called historical “hair and beard decree” applies to the plays, according to which all performers on stage (must) grow their hair and beards over a year in advance.
What does a ticket for the 2022 Passion Play cost?
You can book single tickets or package deals (tickets + accommodation). Ticket prices vary from € 180 (category 1) to € 30 (category 6). Matching 2- or 3-day arrangements are available from € 264 or € 364 per person in a double room. This includes overnight stay(s), tickets in the booked category, meals, textbook and use of regional public transport. You can book by phone, on site or online via the website www.passionsspiele-oberammergau.de; I also recommend it because of other resources such as the very interesting blog, video interviews with the main actors and much more.
NEW in 2022: Youth Days of the Passion Play
On 7 and 8 May 2022, the so-called Youth Days of the Oberammergau Passion Play will take place for the first time. Two performances of the Oberammergau Passion Play will be offered exclusively (before the official premiere!) for young people between the ages of 16 and 28; almost 10,000 visitors from all over the world are expected. Tickets for the performances are available for € 8,-, € 16,- or € 24,- (including all fees), and private accommodation or arrangements (hotels, guesthouses, holiday homes) are available for overnight stays. A great offer, in my opinion!
These youth days are primarily intended to promote intercultural and interreligious exchange. They are therefore more contemporary than ever. The following interview with the two Jesus actors Frederik Mayet and Rochus Rückel, “We Are Jesus”, also fits in with this:
Who is Jesus for you?
RR: A troublemaker – in a positive sense.
FM: A revolutionary, consistent and really convinced of himself. He must have had an insane charisma that people followed him.
Why is Jesus’ story so relevant today, especially for young people?
FM: Jesus was a young man. He wanted to make a difference, to change the rigid system of the authorities. “Think again!” was one of his guiding principles. “Think differently! Question things!”
RR: In the past, religion was also politics. In the end, Jesus was also a politician back then.
FM: Jesus also said: hierarchies are not important. The world is about togetherness, about people. That is totally political – and highly topical. Even today, young people are taking to the streets and saying that things can’t go on the way they are.
Does that mean that everyone can be a little bit of Jesus?
FM: Jesus probably never thought about climate change, but he recognised the problems of his time, addressed them and tried to act. Sometimes something is in the air, and then someone comes along and hits a nerve. And all of a sudden a movement arises from it, and the powerful are irritated.
RR: In any case, this requires stamina and courage: to have the backbone to say “Think again!
Is Jesus sympathetic?
FM: When Jesus drives the merchants out of the temple, he is not sympathetic. But because he does the right thing, people don’t hold it against him. Even as an open, sympathetic person, when certain boundaries are crossed, you have to bang on the table and say, “That’s not how it’s done!” That has to be possible, even or especially then.
RR: That’s also part of being a role model. Strictness does not destroy sympathy.
And what role does faith play?
RR: These youth days are definitely an event where you can learn to deal with faith a bit more.
FM: And this is not only aimed at believing Christians, but first of all at open-minded people.
So it’s also about believing in something?
FM: Yes, this sentence, “Faith moves mountains”, is to be understood literally, on a small as well as a large scale. If you are convinced of an idea and find the right approach, you can move something. You have to believe in yourself, in your ideas and ideals, then something can come out of it.
I suggest you watch this video (with interviews) by “The Budget Traveller”.
My dear colleagues Kash from “The Budget Traveller” and Sabrina from “Travel.Eat.Shoot.Productions” also visited Oberammergau: Working together with the GNTB German National Tourist Board, they have produced this really impressive travel video in the run-up to the Passion Play. It not only allows you to travel, but also introduces you to some really great personalities from Oberammergau, who take part in the Passion.
And you? Fancy a trip to Oberammergau now? I wish you good luck with it, and hope that you will enjoy the town and its people as much as we did.
Disclaimer: This article was written supported by the German National Tourist Board as well as the Oberammergau Passion Play.