“Bziuki” from Koprzywnica in the province of Świętokrzyskie, southern Poland, had been inscribed to the national UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list. It is an Easter custom where firefighters take kerosene in the mouth and blow it onto flaming torches.
Piotr Gliński, the Minister of Culture, National Heritage and Sports, made the decision to inscribe “Bziuki” to the National list of Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO on March 25 this year. On Tuesday, a special conference devoted to this decision took place in Koprzywnica.
“This is a great honor not only for the municipality, but also for the residents, and above all for volunteer firefighters from Koprzywnica. We all treat this custom as part of our own cultural heritage. Knowledge about this custom has been passed down from generation to generation for over 100 years,” the mayor of Koprzywnica, Aleksandra Klubińska, told the Polish Press Agency (PAP).
She pointed out that inscribing “Bziuki” to the UNESCO list is a great promotion for the area and emphasised that “Bziuki distinguish us from other towns.”
Zdzisław Cebuchowski, the head of the Volunteer Fire Department in Koprzywnica, said that the oldest mention of this custom comes from parish books from 1802 and added that it was “a family tradition, passed down from generation to generation.”
The name "Bziuki" comes from the specific noise that accompanies blowing kerosene onto burning torches. Often the columns of fire, which seem to come out of the mouth of firefighters, are even several meters high.