Hamilton procession with Azores president
A ceremonial procession celebrating 170 years of Portuguese culture in Bermuda was held this afternoon in Hamilton.
Vasco Cordeiro, the president of the regional government in the Azores, walked alongside Charles Gosling, the Mayor of Hamilton, as onlookers lined the street.
The Procession of Faith set out from St Theresa’s Cathedral on Cedar Avenue at 3pm, after a special Mass.
It came after the Premier last night held a reception to honour Mr Cordeiro, who arrived yesterday.
About 150 people joined David Burt to welcome Mr Cordeiro, in Bermuda to commemorate the 170th anniversary of the arrival of the first Portuguese immigrants.
Mr Burt told the gathering that 58 Portuguese men, women and children had arrived on the ship the Golden Rule in 1849.
Mr Burt said: “There was no common language and Bermuda was a sight unseen and unknown and so we can safely assume, as with any new journey, that there must have been some degree of trepidation.
“In the same vein, we cannot know how these men and women were originally received in this country.
“The Bermuda of 1849 had not long shed the yoke of slavery and the majority of Bermudians would likely have been wary of a new group introduced to an island still wrestling with the concept of freedom.”
Mr Burt added: “What is certain that our history is a shared one — not always agreeable, oftentimes tense, but in these 21 square miles we inevitably have common experiences.
“Our goals are the same, we work hard, devote ourselves to our families and pour into our children what we want our society to be and urge them to change things we could not.”
Guests at the event at Rosewood Tucker’s Point in Hamilton Parish included John Rankin, the Governor, Government ministers and Portuguese Bermudians.
Mr Burt said that Bermudian families had been “educated with, played sports with and married into families of Portuguese heritage”.
He added: “The resultant melting pot has expanded the reach of Portuguese culture in the community and makes the recognition of this milestone anniversary significant to a wide cross-section of Bermudian society.”
Mr Burt, who exchanged gifts with Mr Cordeiro, said it was “an honour” to welcome him and the members of his delegation to Bermuda.
He added: “Your presence signals the importance of promoting strong links between our islands and our people.”
Tonight, Mr Cordeiro will attend a gala dinner at Discovery Hall in CedarBridge Academy, ahead of tomorrow’s public holiday honouring the occasion.
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