St. Barbara´s Day „Barbórka” in Upper Silesia
St. Barbara´s cult was already present in Upper Silesia in the era of ory, older than the era of coal. On 4th December senior loaders („ślepr”) were usually promoted to the position of getters during a festive ceremony (the so called „foreman´s appointment”). The candidate´s apprenticeship and training lasted between 2 and 7 years. The list of those to be promoted was designed long before that celebration. The names were put forward by the head miner to the manager of the mine. On 4th December all miners put on traditional clothing, gathered in the mine´s site and, accompanied by their own band, went to church to attend a mass. Newly appointed getters had an additional button sewn on the collar of their uniform and had a sash tied around their waists. The ceremony usually finished off with a meal. Women were not allowed to take part in it.
A miner´s wife was not allowed to enter her spouse´s workplace. Legend had it that if a woman was to work in a mine, she would give birth to disabled children. Once girls working in a mine have got married, they stopped working there. Our performance is therefore divided in two parts: the Barbórka´s part and the part showing various dances and songs from the region of Upper Silesia with clothing typical of the region of Rozbarsk and Bytom.
Dance folklore from the region of Upper Silesia is characterized by a diversity of forms:
- Dances performed by one pair (revolving, rotating, with elements of a game, clapping hands, kneeling, imitating craftsmen, etc.),
- Dances performed by a group of dancers with a particular arrangement in space (polonaise, the Kokotek dance, the Ułan dance, the Lipka dance, the Mietlorz dance),
- Dances performed by a group of three (1 boy, two girls): the Błogosławiony dance, the Druciorz dance, and the most popular dance to the Polish traditional song entitled „Zasiali górale…”.
Our performance lasts about 20 minutes.