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Celebrating Santa Barbara, a family tradition at Calcinor.

December holds a special meaning for workers at the central office of Calcinor in the province of Gipuzkoa – Spain. A land where traditions, family and work are deeply-rooted and highly respected.

And it precisely this province where it all began for Calcinor back in the 1950s, thanks to the work of our founder, Fidel Azcabide.

Fidel Azkabide at the inauguration and lighting of the first Maerz furnace. Alzo 1973

He was the promoter of a tradition that is still carried on 60 years later, one that is a demonstration of the social, industrial-mining and family values that the company is built on.

Whenever a new employee becomes part of the human resources at any of the Calcinor production centres, or at the headquarters in Gipuzkoa, they soon find that there is a day, important and unavoidable, when all the workers come together to celebrate this tradition, as well as the profession as a whole, in what is a taster for Christmas: the celebration on 4th December called Santa Barbara.

Why Santa Barbara?

Santa Barbara is a III Century Virgin and Martyr considered as the patron of several professions related to the handling of explosives. This together with a curious history which states that Barbara was a beautiful young maid of marriageable age whose father, Dioscoro, decided to keep locked up in one of the towers of his castle in far-off Anatolia (Turkey) so that she would avoid any contact with people during his frequent long absences.

During her imprisonment Barbara converted to Christianity, something that enraged her pagan father, who upon hearing of her conversion and lack of interest in marriage, reacted violently and then set about trying her in public so as to save the family honour.

Barbara was condemned and sentenced to be decapitated. But before that she was abused and tortured, bute ven during her agony Santa Barbara did not renounce her beliefs and it was her own irate father who picked up the executioner`s sword and cut off his own daughter´s head on a nearby mountain. Afterwards when Dioscoro was going down the mountain he received his reward from the heavens –  a thunderbolt killed him instantly.

Representation of Sta Barbara

From that moment on Santa Barbara became one of the most popular Mediaeval saints and down the centuries became the Patron Saint of those that handle explosives – such as miners, and mining engineers, manufacturers of explosives and arms and artillerymen.

The annual celebration

At a company with a mining vocation such as ours it is easy to understand the choice of Santa Barbara as protective patron as well as how important this celebration is to all the staff at CALCINOR.

And faithful to the tradition, every year on 4th December, over 200 people, workers from the group`s production centres in Guipuzcoa such as Calera de Alzo S.A, Aizkibel S.A, Cantera de Campanzar and Refractarios Kelsen S.A, together with the employees of Calcinor Servicios S.A, join forces to celebrate this Saint`s day.

Celebratory lunch Santa Barbara 2017.

This is an event that brings an opportunity to give those retiring the farewell that they deserve and who after receiving a parting gift to remind them of their years at CALCINOR, also receive affection and acknowledgement for their efforts from their colleagues.

It is a day that is also chosen to present the prizes to the winners of the annual photographic competition present at the celebration. A competition that this year was held for the 10th time and which focused on the theme “The essence of Calcinor”.

This competition is open to all workers in the group and which this year had the magníficent snap (below) called “The essence of a concentrated extract” as winner and which will appear on the  cover of the Calcinor calendar 2018.

Winning photograph for the Calcinor Calendar 2018 – by Noemie Cassin, Caplansa S.A.

This celebration is also a great opportunity to catch up with colleagues in a relaxed pre-Christmas atmosphere, where lively conversations, hugs and good wishes remind us all that we form part of a group, that of Calcinor, that celebrates not only family traditions but also reminds us that we belong to company that is leader in its sector.

From where we take advantage of the moment to wish you all a MERRY CHRISTMAS and a PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR… and of course Viva Santa Barbara!