Bermuda is known for being a holiday Island, but even we have to take a break sometime – so there’s several public holidays that we enjoy!
There are ten public holidays in Bermuda in 2011. Most of the holidays have a rich history and tradition. But what are the events that inspired them and how did they originate? The holidays are often specific to the island, while others are celebrated the whole world over. So let’s check out the various public holidays:
- New Year’s Day (1st January)
- Good Friday (Date Varies)
- Bermuda Day (May 24th but can vary)
- National Heroes Day (Monday, June 20)
- Emancipation Day (First day of Cup Match -Thursday, July 28 & always Thursday preceding 1st Monday in August)
- Somer’s Day (Second day of Cup Match – Friday, July 29 & always Friday preceding first Monday in August)
- Labour Day (Monday, September 5)
- Remembrance Day (Friday, November 11)
- Christmas Day (Sunday, December 25)
- Boxing Day (Monday, December 26)
New Years Day
It is actually quite common to pop the champagne on the turn of the year the day before it happens on New Year’s Eve .There are of course many parties and festivities held over the Island on New Year’s day, along with church services. Bermuda also plays host to an annual motocross race at Coney Island. This time of year also sees Queen Elizabeth II announce her annual Honours List, with many local recipients being championed by the Government of Bermuda.
Easter is a very important holiday in Bermuda. It is obviously synonymous with worship, with Good Friday being a day for attending church. However, interesting enough, the holiday is also associated locally with a particular pastime. It is known for kite flying.
However, seemingly this playful act is thought to have a religious significance in Bermuda. It is said a teacher once used a kite to illustrate Christ going up to Heaven. There are still classical kites made in the style of a cross, in different coloured tissue paper. Bermuda holds a kite flying event at Horseshoe Bay every Good Friday. It has music, games and Gombey dances, as well as other attractions.
Bermuda Day May 24th
It is the home grown holiday held on the island every 24th of May. The Bermuda Day celebration has a different theme each year. It boasts the amazing Bermuda day Parade, with thousands of spectators crowding the streets of the Capital city of Hamilton. There they can watch the festivities and see the floats going past. There is also a rich array of music, with marching bands, pipe bands drummers and dancers, dressed in flamboyant costumes. There are also street vendors, children’s games, a marathon derby and a cycle race.
National Heroes Day In Bermuda. Monday, June 20th 2011
National Heroes Day was first inaugurated in October the 13th in 2008. But it has now been moved to June. The holiday was introduced to celebrate extraordinary personalities from Bermuda. The first honouree was the late Dame Lois Browne Evans, a local heroine whom opened many doors. Dame Evans was the first black woman to practice law in Bermuda, as well as the first black female Member of Parliament, amongst other accomplishments. National Heroes Day commemorates a particular person every year. The recipients are selected by current members of parliament. It takes place in the third Monday in the month of June. Then it could not to coincide with the date the Queen’s Birthday being observed.
This is a public holiday stretched over two days at the end of July. The first holiday is traditionally held in the last Thursday of the month, before the first Monday of August. It commemorates a major occurrence in the Island’s history. Emancipation Day recalls the events of August 1, 1834 which saw the abolition of slavery in Bermuda. This holiday is famous for its traditional cricket match held every year between Somerset and St. George’s. It is a hallmark of the holiday formerly known as the opening day of Cup Match. But it is now referred to as Emancipation Day.
Somers Day Friday
This is the second day of the Cup Match; Somers Day is named after Admiral Sir George Somers. He is the man that initially colonized the island for the British in 1609. The man is considered the founder of Bermuda. The event celebrated its 400th Anniversary in 2009. The holiday remembers what is commonly regarded to be the most important day in the Island’s history.
The Labour Day public holiday recalls when the workforce of Bermuda fought for better pay and improved working conditions. It is due to take place on Monday the 5th of September this year. The holiday is usually an extended weekend enjoyed by a number of locals and visitors from the USA and Canada, among other nations. The event is marked by speeches and addresses by VIPs. The day achieved great historical significance in the past, such as the 1940’s and a time of vast unionization. However, the holiday isn’t all heavy politics! There is a great deal of fun to be had on this long weekend. The Labour Day Holiday is known for its festivities, from parties and games to road races and other many other fun-filled events.
Remembrance Day is the annual event where the people of Bermuda honour the surviving local heroes that served in World War Two and Korea. The holiday takes place on the 11th of November. This was the day which marked the end of the First World War in 1918. The event is held at the Cenotaph in the capital city Hamilton. It conventionally opens with a Service of Remembrance and a parade at the Victoria Park BVRC War Memorial. There is also a two minute silence at 11am, when the guns fell silent.
There is nothing more festive than a festive season in Bermuda. The Island follows Christmas traditions from the UK and the US. When Santa Claus flies in there are speeches by VIPs like the Premier, Governor and Bishop of Bermuda, to name but a few. There are services held all over the Island. Bermudians usually feast on imported turkey, mince pies and Sherry trifle and other goodies. There are also classic holiday favourites, in a distinctive Bermuda style. We have good old Christmas trees and ornaments to crackers and Yule Logs. Watch the skies in Bermuda Santa!
This class public holiday originates in England a long time ago. It was the day after Christmas when servants would be granted a day of rest. This is to say nothing of being treated to gifts and goodies from their employers. It was a reward from from the upper classes and the Aristocracy for all the work they did. However, in contemporary Bermuda, Boxing Day is now a time for finishing the leftovers from Christmas, throwing parties and spending time with the family. The holiday is renowned for its festivities. It has performances from the renowned Gombey dancers. It also sees the National Equestrian Centre track play host to the Boxing Day.