Miners in all regions of Poland where raw materials are being extracted celebrate St. Barbara’s Day (“Barbórka”) which traditionally is a Day of Miners in Poland.
Not only coal miners celebrate Barbórka. This day is marked by people extracting all kinds of materials, such as copper ore, zinc ore, lead, as well as salt, oil, natural gas and even thermal and therapeutic waters.
In the Christian tradition, the Church remembers Saint Barbara who lived the third and fourth century after Christ, and is a patron of miners, but also artillerists, military engineers and others who work with explosives.
In Poland, large beer feasts are organised, at which miners receive distinctions, younger and older generations meet and the miners’ bands play traditional songs.
“Barbórka” is also an opportunity to commemorate those who died during their work in the mines. This year, a total of 22 people died during their work, compared to 21 in 2018. As many as 1,920 different accidents occurred in Polish mines including 1,570 in hard coal mines.
“You extract the deepest Polish potential, with hard work you build the Polish economy and you show bravery and attachment to tradition,” Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki said in a video published on social media.
“On the day of their holiday, I wish all the miners happiness and care of Saint Barbara,” Elżbieta Witek, the Speaker of the lower house of the Polish parliament tweeted.
The coal mining companies spent large amounts of money on investments this year - amounting to PLN 4.2 bn (EUR 0.98 bn). On the other hand, companies’ profits decreased. It is likely that this sector will have to face a slowdown.
There are around 7,500 mining facilities in Poland, including those extracting common materials such as sand, aggregate and gravel. This sector of the economy directly hires more than 180,000 people. Around 83,000 of them work in hard coal mines.