Gombeys delight community on Boxing Day
Bermuda's Gombey troupes took to the streets for their traditional Boxing Day celebrations.
Today, the art form is instantly recognisable for its dance, rhythmic drumming, theatre and symbolically colourful dress — but those who took part were keen to educate about the true meaning of their culture, which harks back to the era of slavery.
“A lot of people want to know more about it, and we pass the information about our tradition and culture onto them,” said Wayne Raynor, who performed on Boxing Day with the H&H Gombeys group, which was founded by his grandfather, Lawrence “Stickers” Hendrickson.
“To me, this always meant family and tradition. I take it seriously and try to pass it on, as it was passed on to me.
“That's not just for tourists, but for locals as well. A lot of locals don't know what Gombey means. I feel like an ambassador for Bermuda,” added Mr Raynor, who played the bass drum during the parade.
H&H Gombeys set out at lunchtime on Boxing Day from the Glebe Road home of Mr Hendrickson, who performed for the Queen in 1994 and who has travelled the world with his troupe.
He told The Royal Gazette he felt proud that his four grandsons were all continuing the tradition, adding: “It makes me feel great.”
Mr Hendrickson's wife, Carolyn, whom he met during a Gombey performance in the 1950s, said: “I'm happy when they come out. It's a nice feeling and I get choked up.”
His grandson, Zaniko Hendrickson, who has been participating in the parades since the age of 2, added: “This means a lot. We're keeping the tradition alive, and it brings everybody together and shows our history. Once people hear that music, it takes over.”