Good Friday

28 Apr

Good Friday in Bermuda is a day of celebration. Traditionally people eat fishcakes and hot cross buns (yes, together!) give Easter baskets (containing Easter themed sweets) and fly their kites at the beach.

We’d heard that Horseshoe Bay was one of the main places to go for the festivities, so we scooted down late morning. What is usually a popular but peaceful stretch of sand had been transformed! There were food stands, Rum Swizzle stalls, live music, happy families splashing in the ocean and an unexpectedly beautiful sight of many colourful kites floating on the breeze.

Kites!

Rich and I had decided to enter into the spirit of things and make our own kite – fashioned out of some sticks, twine and a er…blue plastic bag (We still haven’t really sussed out where to get atypical items such as arts and crafts bits!). Unfortunately we soon discovered that our kite’s tail was too short, and so, after a quick twist in the air, it nosedived back down into the sand! With our careers as professional kitemakers well and truly over, we laid out our beach towels and happily watched those with adequate tails soaring and gliding through a cloudless blue sky.

A miffed Rich with our Kite Fail (and also some streamers growing out of his ear!)

Later, the sound of drums appeared. The Gombey dancers were on their way. We had heard of the traditional Gombeys’ dance parade, and had even tried to find them on Boxing Day when rumours emerged that they may be performing, but until this point, had only seen pictures of them in books.

As the drums got louder flashes of colour appeared. Big Gombeys and mini Gombeys, bedecked in tall hats with peacock feathers, tasselled costumes and bright masks, danced and strutted their way down to the sand, followed by a small band of drummers providing the beats for the troupe.

Gombeys are unique to Bermuda, with the drum rhythms deriving from African tribal music. The dancers are always male, and their costumes and masks cover them from head to toe – a tradition that apparently dates back to slavery, as the coverings meant that slave-masters would not recognise the slaves that were dancing.

There was a buzz of excitement as they arrived and tourists and local people alike snapped and filmed them moving to the rhythms, before they moved across the beach and away from sight. Being a small island, there aren’t many traditions that are truly unique to Bermuda, but the Gombeys are one that the local people clearly take much pride in, and make considerable effort to preserve and pass down to younger generations. Given that the Gombeys perform so infrequently, it was a real pleasure to see them and to partake in something that Bermuda clearly cherishes.

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2 Responses to “Good Friday”

  1. Eric Bruce 1 May, 2011 at 12:12 pm #

    As a Financial Services professional expat with a wife, dogs & potential offer in Bermuda, I came across your blog in my research. I must say I thoroughly enjoy reading about your adventures & found your experiences very helpful in understanding what life as a newcomer might be like. Cheers & thanks for writing.

    • suscatty 1 May, 2011 at 10:07 pm #

      Hi Eric

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read, and leave such a kind comment. Congratulations on the job offer! I hope the research is going well – I must say I found some of the things we read online were an accurate picture, and other things were completely untrue (mainly for the better)! This week I’m actually planning to add a “Guide for New Expats” section on here so I hope that may be helpful to you too. All the best to you and your family!

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