Tree planted to mark Portuguese Day
A ceremonial tree planting was held today to mark the public holiday in honour of the 170th anniversary of the first Portuguese immigrants to Bermuda.
Vasco Cordeiro, the president of the regional government in the Azores, joined David Burt, the Premier, for the event at the Botanical Gardens in Paget.
Mr Burt said Bermudians of Portuguese heritage had made “considerable contributions to the island”.
He added: “Every aspect of Bermudian life — from politics and public service, to sport, entertainment and industry has been influenced by their participation in our community.
“From the original families and those subsequent immigrants, Portuguese culture has become a part of Bermuda's cultural fabric.”
A marker made from Bermuda limestone was also unveiled.
Mr Burt said: “This symbolises the strength of the Bermudian people and the solid foundation they represent in this country.”
A jacaranda tree, found throughout the Azores, was used for the planting.
Mr Burt said the jacaranda represented “wisdom, rebirth, wealth and good luck”.
He added: “Legend says if the flower falls on your head, it means good fortune for you. As this tree grows and shades the stone, may its flowers fall and bring good fortune to all of us who call Bermuda home.”
Mr Burt said that the gardens were the “ideal setting to provide a permanent marker of the contribution of men and women of Portuguese descent to Bermuda's agricultural heritage”.
He added: “Bermudians and Portuguese have farmed this land together and, long before tourism and international business, our economy was driven by what we grew and exported.
“Farming and landscaping is hard work but it is fulfilling because the literal fruits of your labour become the reward.”
Joao Soares, originally from the Azores and employed as a Bermuda Government gardener since 1987, was singled out by Mr Burt at the event.
The Premier said Mr Soares was “the one man, dynamic team responsible for the grounds of the Cabinet Office and the House of Assembly”.
He added: “This is an opportunity to salute him for his quiet but instantly recognisable service that regularly beautifies those grounds.”
President Cordeiro and the Azorean delegation will visit Portuguese Rock at Spittal Pond tomorrow.