Berchtesgadene Bergknappen miners’ guild
The tradition of the guild is extremely important in Berchtesgaden. It was founded in 1617 and has therefore existed for more than 400 years. Traditionally, any employees with a mining profession are members of the guild.
At Whitsun, the Berchtesgaden miners celebrate their annual festival of mining. First, the employees are honoured underground in the Kaiser Franz Sinkwerk sink works, before then parading in white and blue parade uniforms and with a musical accompaniment from the Bergknappenkapelle (miners' band) from the salt mine to the solemn service in the Stiftskirche (collegiate church) in the centre of Berchtesgaden. After the service of praise and thanksgiving, the miners and musicians continue their procession through the marketplace of Berchtesgaden.
In January of each year, the consecration of the mine takes place after the Epiphany mass. After the shift is over, the mine managers and miners line up in front of the administration building before a procession is held by the Catholic priest across the coop through the tunnels of the salt mine. Their way is lit by candles alone. The mine is filled with incense, and prayers are offered for God's protection, a blessing for the work and for a rich seam.