Obermmeragau is a tiny village in Bavaria, Germany, whose residents who have been performing a day-long Passion Play every 10 years since 1634. After months of suffering from the plague, Oberammergauers made an oath to God that they would perform the “Play of the Suffering, Death and Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ” as long as they were further spared from the plague. Indeed, after the vow was made, the plague took no other victims from the small town.
The elaborate staging of the Passion of Christ, from his entry into Jerusalem to the Resurrection, is up to seven hours long, with an intermission for a mid-day meal. It is held in a magnificent open-air theatre that seats more than 5,000.
The only reason I’ve heard of this play is through my work at the travel company Globus & Cosmos, where I was on staff in the mid 1990s. The Globus Family of Brands operates escorted tours to the event that draws hundreds of thousands of tourists from across the globe. Really, the only way an Average Joe is likely to see the world-famous play is to book a vacation with a tour company.
Tickets to Oberammergau performances, which will run May to October 2010, sell out quickly. So do rooms at the local hotels. But the escorted tour operators have already booked accommodations and tickets in bulk. Still, visitors who want to see the performance, in which 2,000 actors, singers, musicians and technicians take part, have to secure their spots on trips sooner than later.
Which brings me to my question of the day. How far out do you book your vacations? Typically, I have a hard enough time thinking about next week, let alone two years from now. Indeed, most of my family’s trips are planned just a few months in advance; we have a rough idea, “We’re going to visit Grammie in August,” but I usually don’t set the dates and book plane tickets until a few months out.
While I’ve thought plenty about how I want to celebrate my 40th birthday and 10th wedding anniversary in 2009 (ideally on a Windjammer cruise, if the company gets its financial act together), I haven’t booked a thing. With young children, I need to plan around school vacations, start and end dates, and extra-curricular activities and sports, and sometimes I just don’t know those dates til closer to the events.
How about you?