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Saturday, 5 December 2015

The miners' uniforms in Upper Silesia

Miners' suit

5th December 2015

Yesterday was Barborka - the Miner's festival. So I wrote only a few sentences about it but some of you have asked to upload photos of miners uniforms. They definitely looks original and beautiful.

Miners are dressed in the special uniforms during Barbórka. The uniform consists of black suit and hat with a feather. The colour of the feather (white, red or black) depends on the rank of the miner. Miners wear their decorative uniforms not only during Barborka but also for weddings, funerals and other important political or social ceremonies. Below is a picture of miners in their decorative uniforms with beautiful red feathers. 

Barbórka is a time for miners balls. Miners from coal-mines of Silesia and Zaglebie do not work underground during this day but participate in festivities. A big ball takes place each year in Kraków's University of Mining and Metallurgy (AGH) which collides with a time of Advent.
For years coal miners belonged to one of the strongest workers' union. There were thousands of them. In the past miners (especially coal miners) had special benefits like no any other working group because coal mine was considered a highly priced export product (read more about it in an article The Work Ethics in Poland (I); New Class System build by Communists . Not anymore. It seems that coal industry is not competitive with other countries, some mines have to be closed completely or their activity is reduced to minimum. Read more about it in the article Coal Mining in Upper Silesia & Heavy Industry in Poland during the Communism. Besides, there is a huge problem of the environmental pollution and the waste in mine industrial regions. 

Barbórka is celebrated not only in Poland but also in other countries of the region with strong mining tradition like in Germany and in Czech Republic. In Germany the celebration is called "Barbarafeier".

St. Barbara is not only a patron of coal-miners but also a patron of geologists, mathematicians and many others professions. Her patronage is linked with the fact that according to the legend she was imprisoned in a tall tower. Her imprisonment led to association with variety of construction professions. Her festivities take place in geological institutes and universities of Germany and Austria. Read St. Barbara Story HERE. St. Barbara is also connected strongly with the Orthodox Church's tradition.

To prevent accidents miners used to build chapels devoted to their patron, St. Barbara. HERE is her beautiful sculpture from Germany. St. Barbara is also a very celebrated nameday in Poland because Barbara is a popular feminine name.


  1. Thanks so much for this added information and especially for the personal story of your grandfather's miraculous experience!

  2. Really interesting and nothing like that happens here.