Barbórka - St. Barbara's Day - Miners' Day

The 4th of December is a special day for Polish miners - it’s Barbórka (pronounce: Barboorkah) - name's day of their patron, St. Barbara.


Polish miners are probably one of the few professions that still  strongly cultivate traditions. Today they don’t go underground to work. Instead they organise marches and huge celebrations called beer halls (polish: karczmy piwne). Sounds much better, right?

On Barbórka and other important days, like weddings, funerals, etc. miners wear a special uniforms consisting of a black suit, a hat with a plume and a small sword. The colour of plum depends on rank: black is for miners, white - mining engineers, green - chief director, red - member of orchestra, red and white for orchestra conductor.

Miners' suit
image source: http://am_wb1.republika.pl/W6_tradycja/02_tradycja.html
One of the traditions is also waking up citizens by local Miners’ Orchestra. Here is video recorded in Ruda Śląska:



Probably the most important (and for sure to most pleasurable) part of St. Barbara’s Day for all the miners is the beer hall. However, unlike the name itself suggests - it’s not only about drinking beer and eating. It's a great opportunity to meet friends and colleagues, sing traditional songs about mining, laugh and forget about hard and dangerous everyday work. During beer taverns new miners join the community with a symbolic jump over the leather apron. Also retirement celebrations, handing out special awards and miner swords, meeting mothers of miners happen during beer hall fests.


Have a look at last year's karczma piwna in Bolesławiec mine:



All the ladies working in mines also have their special celebration called “Babskie combry”. It has its own traditions, however I am going to write more about them next year! :)