Good day and thank you for coming.
“A Tapestry of Cultures” was the chosen theme this year for Heritage Month and Bermuda Day Parade. This motif reflects the interconnection of cultural influences that make-up the dynamic mosaic of Bermuda’s people. During this month’s celebration, we are recognizing our cultural diversity which includes people from England, Africa, the Caribbean, Portugal, Scotland, Philippines, Latin and North America.
It was most appropriate that we started our Heritage Month celebrations with several wonderful performances by the international cast of Up with People – which consisted of young people representing cultures from across the world, and also included a Bermudian - Zachary Kawaley Lathan.
The Department of Community and Cultural Affairs has organized or supported a number of events that have already taken place and have been most successful. Such events include the Santo Cristo festival organized by the Portuguese community; Mosaic 87 presented by Ruth E. Thomas and Company on the history of Warwick Parish and the Cobbs Hill Methodist Church; the Bermudian Heartbeats talk which featured two Bermudian scholars in a presentation and discussion panel on Bermuda’s linguistic heritage; and the Heritage Month Cultural Showcase in Dockyard, which was a joint partnership between the Department and the West End Development Corporation.
We have even more exciting events lined up for the rest of Heritage Month including an event series to celebrate the launch of The Chewstick Culture Hub on Front Street. The Department of Community and Cultural Affairs is proud to be the main sponsor of these events which include a Reggae concert on May 25th, an Arts and Culture panel discussion on May 26th, a live band night on May 27th, a griot session concert featuring internationally acclaimed Bermudian artist Mishka on May 28th, and the famous Chewstick Open Mic Night on May 29th with a special heritage theme.
Now we are getting ready for one of the most popular events on Bermuda’s cultural calendar - the Bermuda Day Parade, which will take place on Tuesday, May 24th The Bermuda Day Parade will move along Marsh Folly Road and continue right through to the top of Cedar Avenue. The Parade then turns left onto Church Street, takes a right down Court Street, a right along Front Street, and finally up Queen Street. Groups will be able to give a final performance in front of Wesley Square on Church Street. Large trucks will turn left on to Church Street and continue west. Floats will turn right on to Church Street, park in front of City Hall and remain there on display throughout the afternoon.
In an effort to encourage cultural industries in Bermuda, this year the Department hired a young Bermudian artist and entrepreneur, Cullen O’Hara, to design a limited-edition T-shirt that featured his artistic interpretation of the Heritage Month and Bermuda Day theme “A Tapestry of Cultures”. As you can see I am wearing this T-shirt with great pride! The T-shirts are available for $20 from the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs.
For the first time, we are asking residents to share their favourite holiday moments on social media by using the hashtags #BermudaDay and #BermudaCulture. We invite the public to also follow the Department on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at @BermudaCulture to see highlights of the events. The Department of Community and Cultural Affairs has prepared a 30 second promo video that will be launched on its social channels and features scenes from the 2015 parade.
Finally, for those of us who have family and friends abroad, we have enhanced our coverage this year. The Government television station CITV will stream live coverage of the Bermuda Day Parade on through the Government portal at gov.bm and available on any mobile device. The Parade coverage starts at 1:30 p.m. Atlantic Daylight Time.
So, Bermudians wherever they are in the world can gather and have their Bermuda Day party yet still feel connected to home!
As the Minister responsible for culture, I am very grateful to the staff at the Department for all of their hard work, ingenuity, resourcefulness and creativity. I would especially like to acknowledge the work of the new Cultural Affairs Programme Manager, Carlita Lodge and the Events Coordinator Clyde A Mae Tucker.
Whether people come to the Bermuda Day Parade, go swimming, boating or relaxing at home I wish you and your family a safe, happy and fun filled day.
Thank you. Now, let me tantalize you with a few scenes from last year’s Bermuda Day parade!