The highlight of the year has begun for Saxony's miners' associations. Dressed in their traditional costumes and accompanied by bands and singing, they parade through the towns again during Advent, recalling the centuries-old mining tradition in the Free State, from which many Christmas traditions originate. The mining parades are not only intangible cultural heritage, but also attract tens of thousands of onlookers every year. Around a dozen alone are organized by the state association of miners', smelters' and miners' clubs during Advent, its chairman Ray Lätzsch told the German Press Agency. In addition, there are many other regional elevators.
"This is the highlight of the year for us and the reason why people are active in the associations," explained Lätzsch, speaking of "positive stress" for himself and his colleagues. The aim is to present mining and metallurgy traditions to the public, pass them on and bring joy to people's hearts in the run-up to Christmas. According to Lätzsch, around 3,800 people are involved in the more than 60 associations in this country.
A parade with just under 1,000 participants - people in uniform, musicians and singers - was planned in Chemnitz on Saturday to kick off the mining parades during Advent. Mountain parades are also on the agenda in other cities in Saxony this weekend, including Oelsnitz, Zwönitz, Thum and Aue. In Leipzig's Gewandhaus on Sunday, a Miners' Christmas will spread Christmas cheer with the music corps of the mining town of Schneeberg, among others. The parades traditionally end with the procession in Annaberg-Buchholz. As Christmas Eve falls on the 4th of Advent this year, the parade takes place on the Saturday before (December 23).
The closing ceremony of each parade includes the "Steigerlied", which is sung by many in Saxony with its verses "Glück auf, Glück auf! Der Steiger kommt" is considered a secret anthem by many in Saxony. In spring, it was ennobled as intangible cultural heritage. "We are very proud of this because this song has its origins here in Saxony," emphasized Lätzsch.
While a number of more modern adaptations of the song have recently been recorded and posted on the Internet for the Free State's "So geht sächsisch" image campaign - from blues, swing and breakdancing to a song in Persian - the miners' associations continue to rely on the traditional version for their parades. "When I'm in Bavaria, I want to see a traditional Schuhplattler and not some pop version," said Lätzsch, explaining his decision.
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