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Bermuda’s energetic and evolving culture

Island pride: Bermuda’s culture is as diverse as its people

I don’t know much – but I do know for certain, that there’s no energy like Bermuda energy. Bermuda energy is powerful. So befitting is the theme of this year’s celebration of Heritage Month: “Culture = Energy”.

There was a time when people would argue that Bermuda has no culture! Of course this is not true, that argument is dead because with a certainty, Bermuda does have a culture; a very vibrant and diversified one at that.

What is so interesting is that Bermuda’s culture continues to evolve, adapt and develop. We have combined our roots with new traditions that we have blended into our everyday living, while still maintaining our historical, cultural elements. Bermuda culture is rich and as bespoke as our unique Bermuda accent!

The energy of the Bermuda people is phenomenal. When our energy is high, it is fierce, intense and unstoppable. We celebrate happy times and even sad times with an energy like that of the ocean current at Flatts Bridge – spreading, moving, focused, determined and so very strong.

This year's Bermuda Day celebrations did not fail to uphold our cultural energy; indeed our energy was in high form indeed. Our diversity of cultures and traditions should make us proud to be Bermudian.

May that energy “Ve” Bermuda “byes” possess always carry us upwards and onwards to a bright future with opportunities and justice for all.

Culture is so important that unfortunately it is very often mistaken and interwoven with religion; this causes mass confusion and immense error, with people practising culture as religion. We have to be absolutely certain not to confuse the two.

Culture is to remember, uphold and embrace traditions that have been carried down from generation to generation. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, culture consists of the beliefs, customs, arts, etc of a particular society, group, place or time.

Countries have their own traditions and live by them. Hence a simple example would be the customary dress of a Muslim from Indonesia is distinctly different from that of a Muslim from Morocco, or India, or Bermuda for that matter. Respect for diversity and other cultures is such a beautiful thing.

Allah says in the noble Koran: “Indeed, we created you from a male and a female, and made you into peoples and tribes so that you may get to know one another.” (Koran, 49:13).

Islam encourages the embracing of cultural traditions and diversity as long as they do not contradict the Koran and the sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

Cultural practices must never override the teachings of Islam. Accepting cultural philosophies which conflict with Islam is mentioned in the Koran where the people rejected Islam because they preferred what their forefathers did, despite being warned it was wrong.

When it is said to them: “Follow what Allah has revealed,” they replied, ‘No! we only follow what we found our forefathers practising.’ Would they still do so, even if their forefathers had absolutely no understanding or guidance?” (Koran, 2:170)

It is important and absolutely fundamental to not erroneously combine Islam with cultural practices that do not keep within the tenets of our religion and that are not pleasing to Allah.

We have to critically examine our cultural practices, keeping the good and discarding that which is not within the confines of Islam, our way of life for success in this world and the next.

Bermuda, the injustices around the world continues, atrocities and injustices continue, and we must not relent our cry of “ceasefire now”.

Allah tells us of Luqman saying to his son: “And enjoin all that is right, and forbid all that is wrong, and be patient in the face of that which afflicts you, verily, that is the most upright of positions.” (Koran, 31:17)

We must also keep in mind, the words of Martin Luther King: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

As salaam alaikum (Peace Be Unto You).

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

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Published May 25, 2024 at 7:59 am (Updated May 25, 2024 at 7:42 am)

Bermuda’s energetic and evolving culture

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