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Bermuda Culture Tips When Visiting the Island

Bermuda culture greatly reflects on the heritage of its people, who are of European and African descent. Bermuda is an overseas territory of the United Kingdom and even though this is so, a strong historical connection with Canada, the United States, and former British colonies in the Caribbean is strongly present.

To most American visitors, Bermudians seem to have adapted British culture in their customs, playing cricket, left-hand drives, and having Queen Elizabeth II on their banknotes. On the other hand, to most British visitors, Bermuda seems to be more North American with dollar currency equal to the US dollar, televisions coming from the US, and Bermudian English sounding more similar to American English. In the US or Britain, ‘Bermuda shorts’ are considered to be casual clothing, while in Bermuda culture they are measured to be formal attire, worn with a jacket and tie.

Bermuda culture also seems to be much more conservative concerned with etiquette, compared to the UKs or North America. Asking for directions in Bermuda without first saying ‘good morning’ or ‘good afternoon’ is considered to be rude and hasty. This is a common cause of misunderstanding and embarrassment on the part of many British and US visitors for whom this is perfectly normal with no intentions of offense. Topless sunbathing is also against the law and is not merely frowned upon.

However, Bermudians can also stand for behaviors that would be measured eccentric elsewhere. A good example of this is that of Johnny Barnes, a retired bus driver who stands by the road in Hamilton, greeting commuters on their way to work often by name and greeting them and telling them all ‘I love you’, this esteem is what he is held for locally that a statue of him now stands in Hamilton.

Bermuda culture in music is a traditional form of music and dance called the Gombey, which is a derivation of West African and involves rhythmic chanting and quick drumbeat. This music is also encountered in the Bahamas but the Bermudian version of the dance engages the use of British military snare drums beaten with wooden sticks. This practice stemmed from the fact that many slaves worked in British military bases.

Bermuda culture is surprisingly British for a tropical island which has gotten most of the influence from its British colonizers and African inhabitants playing an essential role as well. While many other islands saw many transfers of political power between the French, Spanish, British, and even Dutch, the island was left to its devices as a British colony and this political stability resulted in the replication of British culture. Likewise, traditional dishes in Bermuda are also British, obviously stating that Bermuda culture is British culture without having to cross to visit the U.K.

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