The last shave: jesus at the barber shop

The last shave: jesus at the barber shop

The knife glides gently across the cheek. For the last time for one and a half years. Jesus – or rather his double double – has started his last shave: frederik mayet and rochus ruckel will take turns playing christus at the passion in oberammergau next year.

Hair and beard decree comes into effect on ash wednesday. The jesus performers like about 2400 other oberammergauer – almost half of the inhabitants – were then no longer allowed to cut their hair and beard. They all play along with passion.

With the hair, you slowly grow into the role, says mayet. "It’s something special. It’s a sign that the passion game is about to start. The whole village is getting ready now, everyone is going to the hairdresser again."

The play by amateurs goes back to a gelubde. In 1633, the people of oberammergau promised to perform the story of christ’s suffering, death and resurrection every ten years if no one else died of the plague – which, according to tradition, they did. As is the case every ten years, the picture will soon be dominated by flowing beards and long hair.

Kretschmar’s hair salon is very busy these days. The phone keeps ringing. "Our diary is well filled," says owner katharina daisenberger. She has just shortened ruckel, student of aerospace engineering and with 22 years the second youngest jesus, the dense black curls a bit. His image of jesus, however, looks different: "blond and rather straight hair."Like mayet (39), who already played jesus once in 2010. "But i hope i’ll go through too. Dark and curly already existed," says ruckel.

Now the beard: just trim it or remove it completely? 84-year-old barber adam fledrich puts the knife to work. He has already shaved generations of christ actors and stood himself with a thick female beard on the stage. Mayet’s beard is gone shortly thereafter – even if it doesn’t go down too well at home: "my wife hates it when i’m clean-shaven."Since the passion in 2010, he has only shaved off his beard four or five times, he says. With ruckel a moustache remains standing. "I think it’s pretty cool, a bit colombian," he comments on his new likeness in the spiegel magazine.

The hair and beard decree also gives the chance to try something new in fashion. Moreover, the carnival goes into the final spurt. On ash wednesday, the hairdressers sometimes had to do damage control, says daisenberger. A customer had gone as a clown before a passion, only at the ears stood a few hair tufts. Slogan afterwards: bald.

When in the almost 400-year history of the passion there was a hair and beard decree for the first time is not known. Even whether the historical jesus really wore long hair is not proven, as ansgar wucherpfennig, a new testament scholar at the philosophical-theological university of st. Georgen in frankfurt, says. "We know little about the hair and beard of jesus and his young ones."

In the next months many oberammergauer need first times no hairdresser. Doris renner of the bartl salon is preparing for a rather poor business year. But some of them did come in between to have the points cut. People did not have to walk around "like neanderthals". Employee miranda grotzinger-remmers also knows the note of some customers: "it’s not as if everyone is still a woodcarver who only works in the village. If someone goes to work elsewhere, he should already attach importance to the appearance."

Daisenberger is not worried about the business. "Many customers come from the surrounding towns and villages." moreover, long hair needed care. "The longer the hair, the more important it becomes."Special oils and soaps are in demand for the beards. And: washing, laying, fohnen and also colors remain allowed. Only extravagant like green or purple were taboo. The hair should look natural – even if that is not explicitly stated anywhere. If someone violates the hair rules, he has to pay a fine at the games – right at the checkroom. Height: still open.

The apostle john has no beard – too young. Also the roman soldiers are clean-shaven, like at the time of christi. Oberammergauer as soldiers in the federal armed forces, on the other hand, were allowed to show up with long hair, at least during earlier passions. "With long hair and a beard at the barras – many people have looked and shaken their heads," says mayet, who was doing his military service at the time of passion 2000.

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