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Heritage Month

The Origins of Heritage Month and Bermuda Day
Civil unrest in the 1960s and 1970s prompted the Bermuda Government to commission a report examining the social conditions in Bermuda and make recommendations to promote a more unified and peaceful social atmosphere. The Pitt Report of 1978 gave an accurate representation of the social and racially tense atmosphere at the time, and included feedback from many Bermudians that suggested an event should be organised to bring Bermudians together in harmony and to build a sense of civic pride.
 
It was decided that a parade would provide an opportunity for camaraderie and celebration, similar to the Easter Parade that ran from the 1930s through to the 1960s. During that time, many farmers grew flowers so that they could be in full bloom for the Easter period. It was also suggested in the Pitt Report that the proposed event capture the unifying spirit of the existing May 24 half-marathon. These events both served as inspiration for the Bermuda Day Heritage Parade which replaced Empire Day, the annual public holiday recognising Queen Victoria’s birthday. The first Bermuda Day Parade took place in 1979. It was historically celebrated on May 24th or the weekday nearest May 24th if that date fell on a weekend, but from 2018 onward will be celebrated on the last Friday in May, and in 2019 on Friday, May 24, 2019.
 
Bermuda quickly realised that one day of celebration was not enough time to recognise the broad spectrum of Bermudian heritage and traditions. Heritage Week was born, celebrated in the last week in May. By the mid-1980’s, this was expanded further into Heritage Month with a calendar full of events through May that celebrates Bermudian culture, heritage, and traditions. Bermuda Day has become the culminating point of Heritage Month and one of the most beloved cultural holidays alongside Cup Match (Emancipation Day & Somers Day). On Bermuda Day, Bermudians showcase their pride in the beauty and diverse culture of our island – whether they participate in the parade, the half-marathon, go for their first swim of the year, attend the season’s first fitted dinghy boat races, or follow the Gombeys through the streets crying, “Ay-oh!”.
 
Heritage Month 2019 Theme: Bermudian Excellence
In 1979, following the recommendations of the Pitt Report, Bermuda celebrated its first Bermuda Day in efforts to unite the community and provide a source of national pride. Since then, we have had 40 years of  half-marathon excitement, dinghy racing, and parades with creative floats, vibrant dancers, and Bermudians from across the island camping out, celebrating, and reflecting on our diverse cultural heritage. In 2019, we celebrate 40 years of Bermudian Excellence, from our sporting greats, to our union leaders, to the young people trying to make a difference in their community. Bermudian Excellence isn’t simply about those already revered in our society, but also highlights the woman and man on the street living artful, creative, Bermudian existences. The fundamental strength of Bermuda’s culture is our people, our friendliness, our hospitality, our good humour, and the way people from a small island still manage to excel on an international stage. The history and legacy of Heritage Month’s creation is complicated and uncomfortable, but out of the discomfort, we have created Bermudian beauty, traditions, creativity, culture, and excellence.

Heritage Month 2019 Activity Schedule:
- Please check back in late April for Heritage Month 2019 Event Schedule
- Heritage Month 2018 Digital Event Schedule (PDF - for digital viewing)

Bermuda Day Parade 2019:
Click here to visit the Bermuda Day Parade information page.