— Rum Ritual & Lore —
Rum has long been an integral part of social and religious ritual from Voodoo to Weddings. In Bermuda it is Roof Wetting and Ship Christenings...
This ceremony involves very few elements: the roof of a new building or home, the owner and builder who created it, and a bottle of Black Seal Rum. For a time Bermuda built the fastest ships on the water made of native cedar. Back in those ship building days it was rum, not champagne, that was used to christen Bermuda ’s finely crafted vessels. Builders of early homes in Bermuda were shipwrights first and foremost as evidenced in the use of many ship building techniques they employed. So why not treat a home like a sailing vessel? Christen a ship; christen a home.
Why the roof? The roof is really the most important of a home in Bermuda. Besides being the “crown” of the structure, it is often the primary source of fresh water. Rain water is collected on the roof, stored in a cistern under the house and pumped back up for regular use.
In Bermuda, when a new building goes up, from a small cottage to a big office building, a celebration is held. The owners, developers, and contractor scramble up onto the roof and a liberal dousing of Black Seal Rum is followed by many toastings, smiles and congratulations all round.