BNL To Screen Short Films About Cedar, Lilies

March 6, 2014

The Bermuda National Library is getting set to play host to a Historical Heartbeats Winter Lecture Series event that will see Dr. Walwyn Hughes serve as moderator as two films are screened for public viewing. The event will take place on Thursday, March 13 at the Bermuda National Library on Queen Street, beginning at 6.00pm.

The two 30 minute films, each a part of Brendan Hollis’ “About Bermuda” series, will outline the history and importance of ‘Bermuda Cedar’ and ‘The Easter Lilly’ respectively.

A spokesperson said, “Bermuda Cedar charts the ways this endemic plant played an important role in Bermuda’s history and social development, influencing architecture, lifestyle, and commerce.

“The Easter Lily tells the fascinating story of the rise and fall of a major agricultural crop. It shows the lovely fields of lilies on St. David’s Island, before the land was given up for building U.S. bases in World War II. It also shows the extent and value of the industry, and its final decline.”

The Easter Lily has long played a role in Bermuda’s history. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Bermuda exported onions, potatoes, and Easter lilies – 90 percent of its crops were sent by ship to New York for distribution up and down the east coast. Both cut flowers and lily bulbs were by far Bermuda’s most lucrative cash crops.

Easter lilies — also known as Bermuda lilies – were introduced to the island from Japan in the mid-19th century. The large, white trumpet-shaped flowers had become a symbol of purity, hope, innocence and peace in the Christian tradition.

Commercial production of the bulb began in Bermuda in the mid-1800s. Within a few decades Bermuda was routinely being referred to as “The Easter Lily Island” – or simply ”The Easter Isle” – in American and Canadian newspaper reports on what had become one of its largest industries.

“How many lilies are grown in the Bermudas is a difficult question to answer,” said a Baltimore paper in 1896. “The figures run way into the tens of millions. They grow like weeds, and if it were merely a question of producing lilies the Bermudas could easily flood the world with them from one year’s end to the other.”

For more information about the event, please contact Folklife Officer Dr. Kim Dismont Robinson at 292-1681 or via email at, or visit

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Category: All, Entertainment, Environment, Films/Movies, History

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  1. toya-t. ming-symonds says:

    Hollis’ his-torical influence. Bermuda Pride!