If there’s one thing Bermuda loves, it’s a celebration. The island’s stunning natural beauty, great weather and uncommon venues practically call for it.
Throughout the year, each month brings a different emotion. The year begins with a hangover, a decision to spend time in private company with cocktails by the fire; but by spring you can feel that carefree spirit return. Hitting like a heatwave, summer is the festival season and by winter the island remains fully devoted its own amusement. While there are many to choose from, these are the events that a local won’t miss.
No matter your beliefs, a long weekend is cause for celebration. Bermuda has more churches per square mile than anywhere else in the world, which means it’s decidedly Christian, but father, son, or third cousin twice removed, we all share in the same party spirit. The island is closed for business as residents ease into the festivities from Thursday. Front Street, the main drag in the City of Hamilton, becomes the starting point for a pub crawl – from classic hi-balls at Harry’s Bar to pints at Astwood Arms and craft cocktails at Yours Truly, it and gets you right on the inside track. Soon enough, everybody will know your name. On Good Friday, the tradition is kite flying and the savoury-sweet fishcakes loaded with thyme and sandwiched between soft hot cross buns, but the real win is finding yourself at one of many local house parties. Start at Horseshoe Bay to influence an invitation. Round off the weekend with Sunday brunch. Try Marcus’ for free-flowing champagne with a side of Andy Warhol, Huckleberry for a modern take on a bygone Bermuda, or Rosewood Bermuda for a luxe lunch overlooking Castle Harbour.
Once Empire Day, to mark Queen Victoria’s birthday, Bermuda Day is the unofficial first day of summer – and the first day true Bermudians will go for a swim. Thousands take to the streets of Hamilton, some marking their spots well in advance. A colorful parade of floats, Gombey troupes and dancers embody the culture of Bermuda while spectators show the heart. There’s a secret debate as the whether the real party is on land or the water – it takes a true devotee to cover both – but with raft-up boat parties happening across the shores and the iconic Bermuda fitted dinghy races in St. George’s Harbour, you should find yourself a captain. Check ptix.bm for music events and concerts for after the sun goes down.
Bermuda Heroes Weekend
From Friday to Monday on this long weekend in June, you’ll be spoilt for choice with Carnival-style events all weekend long. Touted as the world’s fastest growing carnival, many have pledged their allegiance to their band months before wearing matching feathered costumes to take to the road for the Parade of Bands, on Monday, National Heroes Day. But the programme is packed with Soca concerts, DJ sets and boat and beach parties. If there’s any one party to pick it’s the all-night J'Ouvert Celebration on Sunday night. Wear white and be prepared to be covered in colourful paint by sunrise.
A fierce but friendly Cricket rivalry, a uniquely Bermudian festival, a booze cruise, no matter how you look at it most locals agree that, more than an event, Cup Match is “a feeling”. Held over the first weekend in August, this four-day celebration begins with Emancipation Day on the Thursday, a national holiday to commemorate the day when black Bermudians were emancipated from slavery in 1834. Get involved with live concerts, the Bacchanal Run and Non-Mariners, a colossal raft-up, boat party in Mangrove Bay, Somerset. You can’t beat the atmosphere at the match which alternates between St. George’s Cricket Club and Somerset Cricket Club annually. Book your place on a cruise charter to get you there and back.
Bermuda Pride, City of Hamilton
Held on the last Saturday in August, Bermuda’s Gay Pride March is a mighty, joyful, family affair with loud music, local food and live entertainment. An outstanding 4,000 attendants in rainbow regalia marched through the city at the inaugural event in 2019, after the island legalized same-sex marriage after it was repealed in 2018. The parade departs from Victoria Park in Hamilton followed by a life-sized, toy train for those less abled.
Bermuda National Trust Christmas Walkabout in the Town of St. George
Held on the first Friday in December, residents of this UNESCO World Heritage site open their historic homes to one and all. Mulled wine, spiked egg nog, Christmas shopping, candlelit churches, and live entertainment in the illuminated King’s Square are all part of this enchanting evening to kick off the festive season. A huge part of the magic is that it feels unbelievably Christmassy without a whiff of snow.