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    Interesting facts about ‘Barbórka’

    Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

    December 4 is a traditional miners’ celebration day. This is a day of Saint Barbara. Nobody forgets about the miner’s efforts, so let’s find out some trivia about the miners’ uniforms.

    4th of December is a traditional miner’s celebration day in Poland, which is called ‘Barbórka.’ The name of this day comes from Saint Barbara on her feast day. Saint Barbara is the patron saint of good death and hard work. 

    Read more about ‘Barbórka’ ⤵️

    The pattern of today’s miner’s uniform was introduced in the XVIII century on German territory in the Ruhr. In Poland, the first miners’ uniforms were provided in 1817 and were worn as workwear. 

    The clothes of the Kingdom of Poland infantry were a pattern of Polish miners’ uniforms. Nowadays, miners’ uniforms differ from those from the XIX century. The tuxedo was changed for a coat and the white trousers were changed for black ones. 


    Shako is a miner’s hat, and it is an element of ceremonial miner’s uniforms. Shako is 12.5 cm high, and it is stiff. In the middle of the forefront of the shako, there is ‘kupla’ (miner’s emblem). In ‘kupla’ you can see a hammer (called ‘perlik’) and short pick (called ‘żelazko’). Both elements are surrounded by the laurel wreath. These tools were used by miners to break coal and ores. 

    What do panaches’ colours on shakoes mean?

    On the left side of the shako, there is a panache made from roaster’s feathers which are 22 cm in length. The colour of the roaster’s feathers matters a lot because it signifies the miner’s importance. 

    Green – the colour intended for Director Generals of mining

    White – the colour intended for technicians, engineers, and coal miner’s directors

    Black – the colour intended for miners and aspirants

    Red – the colour for members of the mining orchestra

    Whitered – the colour intended for the kapellmeister of mining orchestra

    Why has the miner’s uniform got 29 bottoms?

    The uniform is the pride of every miner. It symbolizes belonging to the mining community and appreciation for hard and deadly work. There we can find special patches, flaps and 29 gold buttons. Why 29? This is the number which commemorates the patron of miners – Saint Barbara, who died as a martyr at the age of 29. 

    Why black and green?

    Not only does black and green dominate in miners’ uniforms but also, they create the miner’s flag. Black symbolizes the darkness of the underworld and green the longing for green forests and fields during work. 

    Formerly, miners slid down to the mines in grey uniforms, now the black ceremonial uniform is worn during important celebrations for the mining community. 

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