BERLIN, March 6 (Xinhua) -- Nearly half of the residents in Oberammergau in Bavaria, Germany have stopped shaving their beards and cutting hair since Wednesday to prepare for the world-renowned Passion Play which kicks off next year.
The traditional play has been performed every ten years by the villagers of Oberammergau nearly without interruption since 1633. Back then, the villagers had promised to depict the crucifixion of Jesus Christ if the village was spared from the Black Plague that ravaged Europe.
"The people of Oberammergau must grow into the historical figures," Frederik Mayet, spokesman for the Oberammergau Passion Play, told the German newspaper "taz."
In order to match the looks of the people living over 2,000 years ago, the shaving restriction will apply to nearly all the more than 2,300 actors and actresses. Only actors playing Roman soldiers and backstage staff are exempted from the ban.
Actors and actresses who wish to be cast must either be born in Oberammergau or have lived in the Bavarian village for at least 20 years.
The Passion Play, which drew over half a million spectators in 2010, will take place for the 42nd time between May and October in 2020.
Official ticket sales for the Passion Play also began on Wednesday, with prices ranging from 30 to 180 euros (about 34 to 204 U.S. dollars) per ticket.