The role of the religious crowd in the mass Catholic events: The Passion play and Nativity play in Warsaw

  • Kamila Baraniecka-Olszewska Polish Academy of Sciences
Keywords: Passion play, Nativity play, religious crowd, religious experiences, Poland


The main purpose of this article is to present crowd-type participation in mass religious events. Taking a Passion play and a Nativity play staged in Warsaw in 2012 as her examples, the author shows how a particular way of participating in sacral events is shaped and negotiated, and how it results in transforming a group of the faithful into a religious crowd having a common aim and sharing a common attitude. The author states that, in this case, the “religious crowd” is a different kind of community taking part in religious services as distinct from communitas or sacramental community described by anthropologists of religion. The crowd appears in very particular kinds of events due to crucial changes in Polish Catholicism and the constantly evolving spiritual needs and requirements of the contemporary faithful.