If you don’t make it to Germany’s Oberammergau Passion Play in 2020, you will have to wait until 2030. Why wait? This is a bucket list event and it only takes place once each decade.

In the 17th century, the Thirty Years’ War took place from 1618-1648 in Central Europe. As a result of the war, poverty and disease were widespread and thousands died from plague. During this time of suffering, the citizens of Oberammergau made a sacred pledge that if God would protect them from the plague, they would perform a “Play of the Suffering, Death and Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ.” Legend has it that after the vow was made, there were no more deaths in Oberammergau from the bubonic plague. 

The promise of the Oberammergau citizens was fulfilled for the first time in 1634 and the Passion Play has taken place every 10 years, except for 1940 when the play was canceled due to World War II. 

One thing that sets this play apart from others is that only residents of Oberammergau can be in the production. It is huge, with over 2,000 citizens involved. These are ordinary people, pursuing their normal, everyday lives and still taking time to be a part of this special production. Men grow out their hair and beards to look more “authentic.” It is not uncommon to see someone in the play and then see them later in a restaurant, serving you dinner. Typically the play begins about 2:30 in the afternoon, stops for dinner at 5 p.m., resumes at 8 p.m. and ends around 10:30 p.m. Performances are held five days each week in an open-air theatre from mid-May through early October. 

This is truly a BUCKET LIST EVENT. Years of planning by performers, tour companies, travel agents and visitors alike all make this possible. Back in 2017, Danette Jacob, Germany Destination Specialist at Travel Leaders in La Crosse, already reserved seats for one of the 2020 performances! Not only did she reserve seats for the play, she also blocked hotel space at a property right in Oberammergau and made dinner reservations at a local restaurant. Talk about years of planning!

You can join Danette (who has lived in Germany, visits annually and is fluent in the language) as she hosts the IMPERIAL SPLENDORS tour in September 2020. Not only will this very special trip include Oberammergau and the Passion Play, but also Prague, Budapest, Vienna, Salzburg and Munich. Seats are extremely limited. For more details, please contact Danette at (608) 779-1194 or via email at Danette.Jacob@TravelLeadersGo.com.

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