Traditions of St. Barbara

Traditions of St. Barbara

The miners have many traditions and legends about the patron Saint Barbara; she protects and aids all miners in distress. There are numerous pictures and photographs, both past and present depicting hoards of miners marching in her honor on her anniversary celebration.


The Annual Barbara celebrations in Vordernberg were once organized by the Austrian mining company (ÖAMG), a local committee was founded here to support the organization (the committee members were mostly employed on the Erzberg (the biggest open cast mine in Europe). These dedicated men and women spent many voluntary   hours organizing the yearly Barbara festival which was held on a Sunday in the Alpine Hall.


Sadly the numbers of miners employed sank rapidly in the 70s and 80s; the organizing of the festival was handed over to the Barbara-Committee Vordernberg by the VA Eisenerz. The Alpine Hall was also handed over to the MG Vordernberg; they renamed it “Barbarasaal” after the patron saint. The also changed the Sunday Festival and began celebrating “Barbara Saturday”, a day long event with music, dance and a high mass in her honor.


The MG Vordernberg joined forces with the Verein “Steierische Eisenstrasse” (Club Iron Street) and now run an annual event to honor personalities in the mining and steel business, this event has now become popular in other parts of Austria affiliated to the Iron Road (Upper Austria, Lower Austria, and Styria), it begins with a “Barbara Market “and ends with a gathering in the Barbara Hall.


The twelve committee members, about twenty miners, the cooking team of the Plöbst Family and local Restaurants and Guest houses now run the “Barbara Festival”. The miners committee organizes the traditional events.


Leather jump, once a tradition that was initiated in the Raithhouse mining Academy by Peter Tunner, has been reinstated. In the meantime there are 26 honorary members who have been chosen to jump over the “Arsch Leather” and in so doing become members of the mining community.