Bermudians enjoy their holidays. Given an excuse, gombay dancers in colorful garb will turn out to dance through the city streets, especially on Boxing Day (December 26th), New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, and during May (Heritage Month). Gombay (the African word for drum or rhythm) was born of slavery and is celebrated throughout the Caribbean and the West Indies in various forms. During the celebrations you will see gailycolored feathered headdresses, elaborate costumes, fantastically carved masks, acrobatic leaping and dancing, all set to throbbing, hypnotic island music. If you are lucky enough to experience gombay, you’ll be hooked. Locals and visitors alike find themselves joining in, dancing to the beat, and following along as the parade meanders slowly through the city streets.
Perhaps the strongest holiday tradition on the islands is theCup Match, a cricket match between St. George’s and Somerset. This two-day tradition was born at the turn of the century to celebrate Sir George Somers and the abolition of slavery. It’s difficult to believe a cricket match could stir up so much emotion. Rivalry between the two teams, and the communities, borders on the obsessive. It takes place in either late July or early August and has developed into a carnival of the first magnitude. While the cricket match is the center of the celebration, socializing has become just as important. The event brings intense competition on the field, along with wild island music, dancing, food, and much more. If you can make it to Bermuda for the Cup Match, you’re in for a treat.