With its blend of stately colonial architecture, international influences and mild climate, Bermuda promises a holiday season experience that is truly like no other. Here's how the island gets festive over the holidays.
Holiday fun Throughout the SeasonBermuda’s blended cultures mean residents might observe Hanukkah, Muslim holidays and feast for Kwanzaa, but because of its long history as a British colony, and having more churches per square mile than anywhere in the world, Bermuda has a tradition of celebrating Christmas. You’ll see festive decorations, glittering lights, window displays and soaring Christmas trees in hotel lobbies and public squares – and you can't miss the giant gingerbread house at the Hamilton Princess. Get into the spirit with mulled wine, the smell of cedar burning in the hearth and Santa Claus, who visits early with stops in the City of Hamilton and the Town of St. George.
By early December, the pastel-hued buildings of both cities are decked out with sparkling lights and verdant wreaths and garlands, and the beautifully trimmed Christmas Tree at Royal Naval Dockyard welcomes shoppers and visitors alike. It's an excellent time to get in the holiday spirit while searching for uniquely Bermudian holiday gifts at locally owned shops.
Dockyard's festivities continue each Sunday throughout December, when Santa Claus takes up residence at Frog & Onion Pub. Check out Taste of Dockyard in the nearby Cooperage, where guests can hang a decoration on the Giving Tree.
Come Christmas Day, no celebration is complete without a trip to the beach. Locals head to Elbow Beach to sunrise with a glass of Champagne. Of course, you can always head to a more low-key beach to welcome the day.
Bermudian Holiday Food TraditionsWarm, aromatic spices are a year-round fixture in Bermudian cuisine, but the holidays kick it up a notch. Start your day with an egg nog latte from Rock Island Coffee in Hamilton.
The holidays happen to occur at the height of spiny lobster season, which makes for hearty seasonal dishes at restaurants like the Lobster Pot. For dessert, satisfy your sweet tooth by picking up a pint of Rum Eggnog Ice Cream from Alex & Pete's Bermuda Artisan Ice Cream.
Home-cooked holiday meals have their own beloved Bermudian twist. While it wouldn’t be Christmas dinner without the turkey and a (rum) glazed ham, Bermudian holiday sides are just as essential. Hoppin’ John, paw-paw (papaya) casserole and cassava pie (a sweet cake made with shredded cassava root layered with chicken) are a key part of any Christmas dinner. Moist, buttery Bermuda black rum cake is a perfect finale – pair it with a mug of warm mulled wine.
Looking for a restaurant serving Christmas dinner? Find a traditional roast with all the trimmings at Marcus’, a stylish restaurant by renowned chef Marcus Samuelsson in the Hamilton Princess. Be sure to snap a quick picture in the lobby’s life-sized gingerbread house.
Beloved Holiday EventsFrom the Dockyard Tree-Lighting Ceremony to the Bermuda National Trust Christmas Walkabout, tisland has tonnes of fun festivities. Carol with dolphins, attend a Christmas Eve candlelight service at the oldest Anglican Church in the Western Hemisphere and do Christmas on the beach.
On Boxing Day, this British holiday gets a Bermudian twist when Gombey troupes in colourful costumes dance through the streets to the rhythm of snare drums, beer bottle fifes and tin whistles.
Finally, ring in the New Year in King’s Square in the Town of St. George. Crowds gather to watch the giant onion drop as the clock strikes midnight. See a chronological list of Christmas events in Bermuda, or view Bermudian holiday traditions by region.