Ahhhhh Cup Match, everyone’s favourite summer holiday when the whole of Bermuda grinds to a complete halt for two days to turn its attention to a cricket game.

Cup Match began in July 1902 between the Somerset Cricket Club in the west end and the St. George’s Cricket Club in the east end with venues of the game changing yearly between both clubs. The popularity of the annual game was such that it caused continued absences from employment. As a result, the 2-day public holiday was first introduced in 1947 and has been in effect ever since. Since 1999, a celebration of emancipation is now part of the ritual of the first day of Cup Match, formally renamed Emancipation Day.

For traditions sake, attend the annual game both days this year (and for opening ball, too!).


Cricket: As explained to a foreigner…

You have two sides, one out in the field and one in. Each man that’s in the side that’s in goes out, and when he’s out he comes in and the next man goes in until he’s out. When they are all out, the side that’s out comes in and the side that’s been in goes out and tries to get those coming in, out. Sometimes you get men still in and not out.

When a man goes out to go in, the men who are out try to get him out, and when he is out he goes in and the next man in goes out and goes in. There are two men called umpires who stay out all the time and they decide when the men who are in are out.

When both sides have been in and all the men have been out, and both sides have been out twice after all the men have been in, including those who are not out, that is the end of the game.


Cup Match: First Innings. Written by Chris Gibbons, published in The Bermudian May 1991

There is nothing like Cup Match in Bermuda. Nothing like it in the world.

Nowhere else in the cricketing world, not England where the great game was invented nor in the cricket-crazy Caribbean does a whole COUNTRY celebrate a cricket game quite like Bermuda. The food, the fashions and the Crown and Anchor tables are as much a part of the scene as the cricket itself.

“Cup match” someone once said, “is where we eat everything in Bermuda, drink everything in Bermuda.” And nowhere else in the world has a public holiday been created specifically for a cricket match.

Technically, the Thursday of the two-day sporting bacchanalia is actually Emancipation Day. The Friday is Somers Day, to commemorate the accidental landing of Sir George in 1609. But since 1944, when the St. George’s and Somerset clubs petitioned His Excellency the Acting Governor to move Somers day to coincide with the match, Bermuda has had a two-day holiday on the Thursday and Friday before the first Monday in August, although the match was held on the Friday and Saturday during the Second World War “in the best interest of the war effort”, by not interfering too much with the working week.

Before the War, the match had always started on the Thursday so that people could take advantage of the then weekly half-day holiday when many sporting events were held. By the 1940’s many businesses gave the Friday as a general holiday to their staff- and those that didn’t often found staff suddenly taken ill on the Friday but well enough to watch the cricket!

So how did it all begin, this colourful cross between a carnival, Test match and working man’s Ascot?

Read the full article HERE!