Bermuda Day, on May 24, marks Bermuda’s official kickoff to summer. For islanders in this most popular tropical island paradise, locals are encouraged to get their feet wet and swim in the tropical ocean for the first time in the year. Not only is it time to indulge in a little summer fun, but it’s also the first time that Bermudan men are officially allowed to dorn their Bermuda shorts for the rest of the season. It’s about fun, parades, and island life. Just relax.
History of Bermuda Day
Discovered in 1503, Bermuda is named after Spanish explorer Juan de Bermúdez, who came across the archipelago while sailing in the North Atlantic Ocean. Over a century passed before Bermuda was inhabited. In 1609, a British ship called the Sea Venture was caught in a hurricane. Rather than sink on the reefs off the coast of Bermuda, the crew decided to land their wrecked ship and officially settle the island. The crew of the Sea Venture was the first and only inhabitants of the island. In 1912, they established the island’s capital, St. Georges.
It wasn’t until the 1620’s that ancestors of Bermuda’s population today arrived on the island, as both slaves who were brought to Bermuda and also free Africans who chose to escape the expansion of British colonies.
When colonial powers officially took control of Bermuda, it marked a monumental change and growth in the island’s culture, fostering a unique brand of imperialism for the island dwellers, who were cut off from the rest of the world.
Bermuda Day was born in 1979. Previously known as Victoria Day and then Empire Day, Bermudians rebranded the holiday, preferring to lose the time-honored tradition of paying homage to the British Empire. They decided to honor their own independence and national pastimes instead.
Bermuda Day timeline
Wandering explorer and Spanish ship captain, Juan de Bermúdez, sees land on the horizon.
The Sea Venture crew outmaneuver a deadly hurricane and are forced to settle on the island.
With a new constitution drafted, Bermuda is now capable of self-rule, with its own appointed governor who acts on behalf of the queen.
Instead of commemorating the British Empire, Empire Day becomes Bermuda Day which celebrates the diversity of the island and what it means to be Bermudian.
Bermuda Day FAQs
Do I have to get a pair of Bermuda Shorts?
No, any shorts will do. It’s the thought that counts, but try them out if you can.
Is Bermuda Day really the start of summer?
No, depending on where you live, it may even be the furthest day from summer.
What if it's not a typical summer day?
Then take it indoors, there is so much more fun to be had on Bermuda Day than just a good time in the water. Use your imagination and have a good time!
How to Observe Bermuda Day
Find the ocean
Above all, Bermuda Day is a call to return to the ocean. Head to the beach. Or a pool, if there’s no beach nearby.
If you’re too busy to hit the beach or pool, have a summer treat. A big nice ice cream serving or fresh cold juice will just hit the spot.
Naturally, the day wouldn’t coincide with summer everywhere. If it’s still raining or cold where you live, plan some fun indoor activities for the day.
5 Interesting Facts Aِbout Bermuda
Oldest British Colony
To this day, Bermuda is still considered a British Territory, and in 1995, the island held a referendum for independence, and, as a nation, they voted to remain in British Territory.
Before the Sea Venture crew, it was uninhabited.
The Bermuda Triangle
The Bermuda Triangle is home to some of the craziest conspiracy theories out there and the bizarre disappearances and incidences within have made for some compelling stories.
Pirates and privateers
Throughout King George’s reign, Bermuda was a haven for pirates and privateers, which were pirates who had the blessing of the British King to do as they pleased.
With a population of around 63,000 people, Bermuda receives over ten times its own population in tourists annually.
Why Bermuda Day is Important
Beach, pool, and summer treats. There are too many choices for one day, and they’re all fun.
Start of summer vibes
We all patiently wait for summer in the northern hemisphere. Here is a lateral call to get in on the summer fun.
We get to know about this paradise along with its history and people. Who knows, we may visit it soon.
Bermuda Day dates