Bermuda: Gombeys out on Boxing Day

gombey

Today, December 26, was Boxing Day, and the gombeys were out in Bermuda, bringing merriment, music, dance and color to different communities. Bernews reports:

As has been the tradition for many years, the Gombeys are out making their rounds on Boxing Day today [Dec 26], helping the island celebrate the holiday season. The island’s preeminent folk art, Gombeys traditionally span the island on Boxing Day and other holidays with the groups growing larger through the day as Bermudians start following along and dancing to the rhythmic beat of the drums.

Bermuda, the Definitive Guide describes the tradition here:

A tradition that began when black slaves were first brought from Africa and the Caribbean, “Gombey” is derived from an African word meaning rhythm. They were originally intended to perform only on Boxing Day (December 26) and New Year’s Day – the two days of the year when slaves were given a rest from their labors. Today, Gombey dance on Boxing Day, New Year’s Day, as well as other important events such as football matches, at festivals, parades and holidays, at hotels or guest houses and most importantly Good Friday and Harbour Nights (a weekly market held on Wednesday’s during the months of June – September).

The musical accompaniment is usually a kettle drum with two snare drums, covered with goat skin, and traditionally a beer bottle fife which produces the sound of a flute crossed with a whistle. The acrobatic Bermudian members who perform, base their routine on African, American Indian, Biblical, British and West Indian lore and traditions. [. . .]

For full description of the gombey tradition, see http://www.bermuda.com/gombeys-in-bermuda/

For Bernews full article, photo series and videos, see http://bernews.com/2016/12/video-gombeys-celebrate-boxing-day-2/

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