Bermuda Day reminds us of our unique culture
I often heard conversations as a child that Bermuda had no real history, culture or heritage. However, as I grew older, I found this notion to be totally untrue.
Bermuda, the gem of the Atlantic, has a treasure trove of history, culture and heritage, as is always brilliantly displayed on Bermuda Day. This year was no different with a bold and genuine display of unity in the Bermuda community of all residents of our island home.
Our African, British, Caribbean, Portuguese and, to some extent, American heritages were in full swing and representation. We as Bermudians should be immensely proud of where we come from – indeed it signals where we are going together as a country – embracing our cultures which are meshed into a beautiful tapestry making us as a people so uniquely Bermudian!
Islam embraces cultural differences 100 per cent. Allah speaks in the Holy Koran in Surah 49:13: “Human beings, We created you all from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another.”
Allah advises that human beings are created in different tribes and nations so that they may know and understand each other. Thus, human beings are not to fight or quarrel based on their differences.
Islam acknowledges the diversity in culture, food, dress, custom and language as God’s bounties and gifts to mankind: “And among His signs is the creation of the heavens and the Earth, and the variations in your languages and your colours: verily in that are signs for those who know.” (Koran 30:22).
Culture can be defined as the sum of habits, skills, traditions, customs, religions and beliefs; in summary, the way we or a group of people do things, or operate. There are, for instance, Bermudians who have a codfish and potato breakfast every Sunday morning! This is our way, we love our cultural dish!
Heritage, what is passed down to us by our ancestors, has a cultural or social significance. The way we build our roofs, the belief that shark oil will keep track of weather conditions and our Bermuda shorts are among the many things that make us unique. Even our accent is unique, spoken by only approximately 66,000 people – how cool is that? Indeed, knowing who you are and what is your make-up gives you such a sense of pride, self-worth and dignity.
Celebrating Bermuda Day helps to keep the spirit of perseverance of our culture and heritage alive. We have a strong heritage of endurance. The stamina and the resilience of the human spirit that Bermudians so bountifully possess is phenomenal. This is the heritage I draw from.
If for no other reason, the activities of Bermuda Day bring the people of Bermuda together as a thriving and caring community, its objective and purpose will have been met. Our future looks bright.
I love the song Proud to be Bermudian, by our own son of the soil, John Woolridge.
Truth is there is more to us
A strength that’s at the core of us,
A kindness that still shines
Through the tough times
Together we can overcome
And find a way to rise above anything
It really doesn’t matter
There’s no place better
Proud to be Bermudian
May the spirit of Bermuda Day, with its love and unity, remain with us for the next 365 days, embracing all residents of Bermuda. It is this spirit that has brought us thus far and it is this spirit that will carry us farther – not so much as to “whither the fates carry us” but to where our love, tolerance, respect and unity for us as inhabitants of Bermuda will carry us.
The Koran speaks of community and family in Surah 3 – Al-Imran (The Family of Imran) Ayats 103-105: “Hold fast, all together, by the rope which Allah (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves; and remember with gratitude Allah's favour on you; for ye were enemies and He joined your hearts in love, so that by His grace, ye became brethren; and ye were on the brink of the pit of fire, and He saved you from it.
“Thus doth Allah make His signs clear to you: That ye may be guided. Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong: They are the ones to attain felicity. Be not like those who are divided among themselves and fall into disputations after receiving clear signs: for them is a dreadful penalty.”
Bermuda be blessed with a peaceful and happy week.
As salaam alaikum
• Linda Walia Ming is a member of the Bermuda Hijab Dawah Team, a group of Muslim women who reside in Bermuda and have a goal of educating the community about the religion of Islam