The May 24 holiday, which initially commemorated Queen Victoria's Birthday before becoming Empire Day and then Commonwealth Day, was first celebrated as Bermuda Day in 1979.
It was established as a vehicle for bringing black and white Bermudians together—something the Pitt Commission that investigated the causes of the 1977 riots said was sorely needed.
An event to celebrate the holiday was already in place—the popular May 24 Marathon Derby, which dates back to 1909, had strong participation from all sectors of the community. Initially, heritage events were held during the week of May 24, but are now spread throughout May, which became known as Heritage Month.
This year, 2020, ushered in new changes. The holiday will now be observed on the last Friday in May. But the Covid-19 pandemic has led to cancellation of all Heritage Month events.