Observed on the last Friday in May, Bermuda Day is a public holiday on the islands of Bermuda. It was originally known as Empire Day and was used to commemorate the birthday of Queen Victoria. However, when the islands gained independence from the U.K., this day was transformed into a celebration of Bermudian culture, heritage, and national identity.
Up until 2018, it was celebrated on May 24th each year, but it is now celebrated on the last Friday in May. On this day, the islands are alive with excitement, and there are plenty of activities to be found across the island.
The History of Bermuda Day
In 1902, Empire Day was created to observe the birthday of Queen Victoria—the Queen of the UK and Great Britain and Ireland—who had died on January 22, 1901. This day was celebrated throughout the United Kingdom, including in Canada and the Bermuda Islands. In Canada, this holiday is still celebrated as Victoria Day.
In Bermuda, however, the name would change. First, in 1958, it became Commonwealth Day after a number of countries gained their independence from Great Britain, and then it was renamed Bermuda Day in 1979. Up until 2018, the day was celebrated on May 24th, but after that year, it was moved to the last Friday in May.
Observing Bermuda Day
All across Bermuda, a variety of different events take place as crowds fill the streets on Bermuda Day. Not only is there a Bermuda Day Parade that is held in Hamilton and has been held every year since 1979, but there are also sporting events such as cricket matches and marathons.
There are also various sailing events held on this day. On the internet, people use the hashtag #BermudaDay to post pictures of the Bermuda Day parade, the iconic Gombey dancers, and the colorful and entertaining floats. This is a day for everyone on the island to be happy, to celebrate their national identity and heritage, and to enjoy a carefree day. Bermuda is alive with food, music, and entertainment, making it a great time for tourists to visit the island.