Sunday, June 14, 2009

Bermuda day and the Gombey dancers

May 24 is Bermuda day -- and one of the most celebrated public holidays. From one of the Bermy websites:

"Bermuda Day, an annual public holiday, began life as a celebration of Queen Victoria’s birthday. Nowadays, it marks the beginning of all summer activities and is the day that most Bermudians take their first dip in the sea."

Luckily, it fell on a Sunday this year which gave us a long weekend. Woohoo!
There are a number of events marking the national day but the highlight is always the Bermuda day parade. While we would normally skip the festivities in town this time of year and just take the day off watching marathon dvd's - - the 3-day weekend finally forced our bums off the couch and witness the day's parade. Parade started at 1pm - yet we opted to watch the parade a bit farther from Front Street, the center of the festivities, to have more room for taking photos.

Bermuda day is known to have a very colorful parade of floats from different groups and other representations in the community. As to myself, I am excited to see and take photos of the gombey dancers. An excerpt of their origins:

"The origins of Bermuda's Gombey dancers can be traced to a mix of Afro-Carribean and Native American influences. All of the body and faces of the dancers are covered to avoid identification, as slave-owners frowned upon the practice of their slaves participating as Gombeys."

Nowadays, the Bermuda Gombey Dancers spring up in the most important events in the island. And they are definitely the stars of the Bermuda day celebrations. The colorful costumes, dancing to the drum beats and whistles, they sure fire up the crowd upon their arrival. So off we went to find a good spot for photo's. It wasn't easy! Not with the Bermy's already marked their spots in the long stretch of Cedar Ave. Apparently, they would reserve their spots as early as 3 or 4am on this important occasion where they would convert the area as their own picnic grounds. Not that we complain, it is their day anyways.

But lucky us, we spotted them within an hour standing under the heat of the sun and trying not to overtake the Bermy's places. Lovely! :)

Unfortunately, the sun prevented us from waiting f
or the Filipino float, which was my second reason for watching the parade. We were just at float 13 after an hour. And we were told that the Filipino float was still in the garage waiting for its turn - at #36! It was a rather hot day, with more or less 30 degrees that afternoon. And what a day to forget boosting up on sun block! I am fine - but not my pasty white hubby who'll just burn under the sun than develop a nice tan. Sheesh. Oh dear. Maybe next year.

More photos here:

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