Bermuda has 10 public holidays each year. In addition to New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Christmas and Boxing Day are
Bermuda Day – May 24th
National Heroes Day – mid June
Emancipation Day and Sommer’s Day (Thursday and Friday preceding the first Monday in August)
Labour Day – first Monday in September
Remembrance Day – 11th November
Then if you are very lucky your company might permit Independence Day (4th July) and Thanksgiving Day ( fourth Thursday in November) in recognition of American roots or links.
Long way to go to match Cambodia’s 20 official public holidays!
So currently (2nd August) the WHOLE island is on holiday – I do mean everything, not just banks – to do business on a public holiday requires a special licence so nearly all shops, restaurants, garages, attractions etc. are closed. But this is a special holiday : it’s the Cup Match between St George’s and Somerset – a cricket match. I have been told that years ago when the two days were normal working days then people took “sick” leave to watch the match so eventually the days were made into a public holiday!
The beaches are crowded and locals are camping out in all and every grassy free space. Even if you have never watched a cricket match you cannot fail to be caught up in the atmosphere.
Choose your team:
Somerset the western end of the island, is blue and red
St George in the east, is dark blue with light blue
I chose St George, but at end of play yesterday they didn’t seem to be doing so well.
The history of Cup Match is given on the sponsors page – HSBC, one of the two main banks in Bermuda.
It marks Emancipation Day, August 1st 1834, as recognised by countries once in the Bristish Empire. I believe American emancipation was some 30 years later and is marked on different days in the various states.
Bermuda was not as dependent upon slaves as some other West Indian islands or the southern states. Many of those that arrived on the island were captured by Privateers (licensed pirating) while others were indentured for periods of time to pay back their passage on ships. They included Native American and Irish as well as Africans. The initial period for indenture was 7 years, but in a blatant move the Governors of the time changed it to 99 years for blacks, so freedom was impossible.
In 2001, Bermuda Department of Tourism and the international body African Diaspora created a trail tracing the legacy of slavery in Bermuda. Certain places are marked by bronze plaques and at the Commissioner’s House at Dockyard there is an exhibit documenting some features of everyday lives of slaves on the island.
There are several books on slavery in Bermuda:
Chained on the Rock by Cyril Outerbridge Packwood
Slaves and Slaveholders in Bermuda by Virginia Bernhard
Bermuda Settlers of the Seventeenth Century by Julia Mercer
The History of Mary Prince by Mary Prince
Looks like I have some reading!
So how’s the cricket match going?
As of 5.18pm of Day #2: Somerset 370/6 [Declared] – St. George’s 1st Innings 191, 2nd Innings 54/3
(Post weekend note: a draw)
I forgot to mention that this public holiday is the only time that gambling of any sort is permitted in Bermuda. It is also restricted to the game “Crown and Anchor” which appears to be an almost certain way to loose money.
The next public holiday is Labour Day – that probably deserves a page to itself and I am going to have to research local politics to understand it.
If you google “Labour Day Bermuda” one of the top pages is the following
It reminds me of my first week here: we arrived a few days before the End-to-End walk/run and our ever so friendly realtor suggested that next year I could join in ….. It is 21+ miles….. I really don’t want to disappoint her, but the longest I have ever walked is 13 miles along the River Thames (ie flat) … Maybe I should persuade my husband’s office to do it next year – I will be the support bike.