The Ore Mountains are shaped by a centuries-old mining tradition. During the cold, dark winter months, the light of the candle arches would guide the miners home. This tradition is perpetuated today by people decorating their windows with candle arches at Christmastime.
The annual miners' parades and processes also pay tribute to the mining traditions, and are an integral part of the days leading up to Christmas. The parades originally served to honour the lords of the land on special occasions, such as VIP visits. Today, they are the highlight of the Ore Mountain Christmas markets and quarterly mining periods. These marches only exist in Saxony, and often involve several hundred participants, who revive memories of the mining boom wearing traditional costumes.
One of the largest and most impressive miners' parades is this year being held in Annaberg-Buchholz at 1.30pm on 23 December 2017. Over 1,000 people in costumes from all over Saxony and other mining regions join forces here in a parade which doubles as the grand finale to the Christmas market in this Ore Mountain town.
The Mettenschicht is another mining custom denoting the miners' final shift before Christmas. The head miner would end the shift early with a knocking signal. By singing mining songs, the miners would give thanks for the mine's products, and then share a typically simple meal.
Guests can still attend historic Mettenschicht to this day, including at the Zinnkammern display mine in Pöhla, as well as the »Marie Louise Stolln« display mine in the spa town of Berggießhübel in Saxon Switzerland.