The Bermuda Philatelic Bureau of the Bermuda Post Office issued a set of four stamps on 18th July 2013 under the series Bermuda’s Folk life Part 1 – Arts of Celebration: Gombeys.Each of these stamps captures an image representing an aspect of Bermuda’s iconic Gombey dancers.
The 35¢ stamp shows the colourful fringed costume and traditional high-top white sneakers of the Gombey in the midst of an intricate dance.
The $1.25 stamp is an image of a Gombey mask and headdress.
The $1.50 stamp features a snare and a bass drum.
The $1.65 stamp is a detail of a cape.
This is the first in a series of stamp issues that will highlight the various genres of Bermuda’s folklife.The Bermuda Gombey is perhaps the island’s most recognizable and vibrant cultural tradition. Masked dancers parade through the streets of Bermuda on holidays especially on Bermuda Day, Christmas and New Year’s Day. The troupes of Gombeys are accompanied by a band of musicians usually playing a bass drum, a military-style fife, two snare drums, a triangle, and a bottle. The word “Gombey” means “rustic drum” in the Bantu language, and the tradition is a unique blend of African, West Indian [specifically St. Kitts], Amerindian, and British influences.
Gombeys have existed in Bermuda since the 1800s and the practice was developed by the island’s bondspeople of African and Amerindian descent. Most Gombey troupes are formed from a close-knit group of men and boys who are usually relatives.