Somers Day in Bermuda in 2024

Somers Day in Bermuda in 2024
  How long until Somers Day?
There are no upcoming dates for this event
  Dates of Somers Day in Bermuda
2019 Bermuda Fri, Aug 2 National Holiday
2018 Bermuda Fri, Aug 3 National Holiday
2017 Bermuda Fri, Aug 4 National Holiday

Admiral Sir George Somers was the founder of the English colony of Bermuda, which were also known as the Somers Isles

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When is Somers Day?

Somers Day is a public holiday in Bermuda, held on the Friday before the first Monday in August.

It commemorates Admiral Sir George Somers who was the founder of the English colony of Bermuda.

From 2020, this holiday was renamed as Mary Prince Day, honouring a once enslaved Bermudian who became a hero of the abolitionist movement in Britain.

History of Somers Day

George Somers was born in Dorset in 1554. From an early age, he showed his abilities as a seaman and was involved in several colourful naval escapades in Spain and in the new world.

After serving as captain of several ships, Somers was knighted in 1603. In 1609, Somers was made Admiral of the Virginia Company's Third Supply relief fleet, which was to provide supplies and support to the fledgeling British colony at Jamestown. On his way to the colony, his fleet ran into a ferocious storm. Somers' ship, the Sea Venture, got into serious trouble and Somers was forced to drive his ship onto some reefs and make for some land that had been sighted nearby.

All 150 aboard the ship survived and reached the shore, which later became Discovery Bay in Bermuda. The others in the fleet had assumed that Somers' ship had sunk. Somers and the crew and passengers lived on the island for 10 months, before they were able to build two ships that they used to finally sail to Jamestown.

Somers returned to Bermuda to collect more food for the now impoverished settlement but fell ill on the journey. He died in Bermuda on November 9th 1610 at age 56. His body was returned to Dorset, but it is said his heart was left in Bermuda.

The English began a planned settlement of Bermuda in 1612, with the settlement of St. George's becoming its capital and having the distinction of being the oldest continually inhabited English town in the Americas. For a period, Bermuda was known as the Somers Isles.

According to LeYoni Junos, an independent historical researcher, the first public commemoration of the landing of the Sea Venture took place in 1929.

On July 28th 1931, Somers Day was proclaimed as an official holiday, albeit a one-off event.

In 1936, Somers Day became an annual statutory public holiday by an act of Parliament along with Boxing Day, Victoria Day, the King’s Birthday and Armistice Day.

Somers Day coincides with the second day of Cup Match, an annual cricket match between Somerset and St. George's. Somers Day is even referred to as Cup Match Holiday, though the cricket match predates Somers Day by a few decades. This is a very popular holiday and as well as businesses, most shops will also be closed, even on the Thursday before Somers' Day.

In some years, Somers Day can fall on 1st August, which is normally a public holiday for Emancipation Day. In this case, Emancipation will be observed on Thursday 31 July, creating a four day weekend.

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