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Calendar: festivals, events & public holidays 2016 into 2017

  
50th anniversay fireworks at the Queen's Park Savannah in Trinidad. Photo: Chris Anderson

50th anniversay fireworks at the Queen’s Park Savannah in Trinidad. Photo: Chris Anderson

 

Calendar of major Trinidad & Tobago festivals, events & public holidays (late 2016 into 2017)

Trinidad and Tobago are festival islands where there is always something to celebrate. If you’re an overseas visitor planning a vacation or holiday where you want to immerse yourself in the culture and lifestyle of Trinidad and Tobago, there are countless opportunities on the islands’ diverse cultural calendar around which you can plan your trip. Here are some of the biggest and most distinctive festivals, holidays and events.

Visit our respective Trinidad Festivals and Tobago Festivals sections for details about each islands’ biggest happenings, and more details on this year’s calendar of events here.

NB: Many dates are set just before the events are scheduled, and are always subject to change or cancellation. If you would like to submit your Trinidad & Tobago event for consideration, please contact us.

November 2016

  • 26: Guardian Group SHINE 5k & 10k
  • International Surf Festival
  • Hosay (Trinidad)
  • Best Village competition finals
  • Pan is Beautiful
  • Scarborough Cup Golf Tournament (Tobago)
  • Tobago Christmas Caravan
  • Harvest Festivals (Tobago): Plymouth, Black Rock, Les Coteaux, Moriah, Scarborough, Montgomery

December 2016

  • 8–11: Christmas with the Marionettes Chorale (Queen’s Hall, Trinidad)
  • Tobago Pro Surf Tournament
  • 8th Annual Tobago House of Assembly Tree Lighting Ceremony at the Louis D’or Nurseries
  • Assembly Day: Tobago House of Assembly celebrates and awards Tobagonians’ achievements, along with exhibitions and a sports and recreation day
  • Paramin Parang Festival (Trinidad)
  • Tobago Flying Colours: annual kite flying festival in Plymouth
  • 25 (public holiday): Christmas Day
  • 26 (public holiday): Boxing Day, marked with horse racing and parties

• 2017 •

January

  • 1: New Year’s Day – friends old and new; parties great and small. The good-luck dish for bringing in the new year is our pelau with black-eyed peas.
  • 2 (public holiday): New Year’s Day observed
  • Carnival season begins
  • Sailing season begins
  • Carnival Educative Arts Festival & Carnival Caravan (Tobago)
  • 22: TATIL Open Golf Tournament
  • 28: Chinese New Year (year of the rooster)
  • Harvest Festivals (Tobago): Pembroke, Parlatuvier, Spring Garden, Plymouth and Mt Pleasant

February

  • Carnival Educative Arts Festival (Tobago)
  • Tobago Carnival Regatta (Tobago)
  • 6–8: Energy Conference and Tradeshow 2017
  • 10–11: National Single Pan & Small Conventional Semi-Finals
  • 12: National Panorama Semi-Finals (Medium & Large bands)
  • 18: Calypso Fiesta (Trinidad)
  • 18: Red Cross Kiddies Carnival (Trinidad)
  • 19: National Junior Panorama Finals
  • 20: National Junior Calypso Monarch Final
  • 21: Kings and Queens Senior Finals
  • 21: Rapso Explosion
  • 21: National Stickfighting Finals
  • 22: Traditional and Individual Judging (Trinidad)
  • 23: Terrific Thursday Kaisorama (Trinidad)
  • 24: Traditional Carnival Characters Festival (Trinidad)
  • 24: Re-enactment of Canboulay Riots
  • 24: Soca Monarch Finals (Trinidad) this annual double-header takes place on Carnival Friday or “Fantastic Friday” as it’s come to be known, and showcases soca artists from around the region vying for two different titles: Power Soca Monarch and Groovy Soca Monarch
  • 25: Junior Parade of the Bands
  • 25: National Panorama Finals (Medium & Large) – the finest steelbands compete for the title of the year in Trinidad
  • 26: Nostalgia Parade
  • 26: Moka Sunday Carnival Fete
  • 26: Dimanche Gras and National Calypso Monarch Final (Trinidad)
  • 27 & 28: Carnival Monday and Tuesday — J’ouvert and Parade of the Bands
  • Harvest Festivals (Tobago): Hope, Adelphi, Buccoo, Franklyn and Bon Accord

March

  • Talk Tent (calypso and comedy, Queen’s Hall, Trinidad)
  • Carnival cool-downs
  • Caribbean Institute of Astronomy’s Annual Star Party (Old US Tracking Station, Chaguaramas, Trinidad)
  • Tobago International Game Fishing Tournament
  • Trinidad & Tobago Golf Open
  • Phagwa (Holi)
  • 30 (public holiday): Spiritual “Shouter” Baptist Liberation Day commemorates the 1951 repeal of the colonial-era Shouters Prohibition Ordinance (1917), effectively banning this Christian and Orisha syncretic religion. The Baptists are also referred to as Shouter Baptists and Shango Baptists. The holiday is marked with performances and religious observances
  • Harvest Festivals (Tobago): Mt. St. George, Mason Hall, Roxborough, Bon Accord
  • Turtle nesting season officially begins on both islands (Trinidad’s north and east coasts, and the leeward coast of Tobago)

April

  • 1: 15th Annual Jazz Artists on the Greens (www.jaotg.com)
  • 4–7: RBL Caribbean Junior Open Golf Tournament
  • 7–9: Rally Trinidad
  • 14–17  (with public holidays): long Easter weekend features hot cross buns, horse racing at the Santa Rosa track in Arima (Trinidad), and goat and crab races in Tobago’s Mt. Pleasant (Monday) and Buccoo (Tuesday). Public holidays are obseved on Good Friday, and Easter Sunday (with the public holiday falling on the Monday). Look out for the beating of the Good Friday bobolee, an effigy of Judas Iscariot. These days, you’re just as likely to see effigies of politicians, notorious characters of all kinds and occasionally some very specific ones representing particularly bad ex-boyfriends.
  • 21–23: Open House Music Festival (Trinidad Gospel Fest)
  • 22: Earth Day
  • 22–30: Tobago Jazz Experience
  • 26–28: 18th Annual SALISES Conference 2017 — “Nations, Dislocations, Transformations: Sustainable Development in SIDS”
  • 26–30: Bocas Lit Fest – The Trinidad & Tobago Literary Festival
  • TBC: La Divina Pastora (Trinidad)
  • Harvest Festival (Tobago): Goodwood
  • Pt Fortin Borough Day (Trinidad) — full week of J’ouvert, mas, pan and parties leading up the big street party
  • Tobago Fashion Coda 2016
  • Pan on the move / Pan in the 21st Century
  • Grand Games Athletics Invitational
  • National Food Truck & Culinary Festival (Trinidad)
  • Sole to Sole — UWI Dept of Creative & Festival Arts Dance Showcase
  • The Trinidad & Tobago Hair & Beauty Trade Show

May

  • Pan on the move
  • Maypole Festival (Tobago)
  • Salsa Fiesta (Trinidad)
  • European Film Festival (Trinidad)
  • 5–7: Republic Bank Decibel Entertainment Conference & Expo
  • 10: Cotton Tree Foundation Golf Charity Tournament
  • 13: Prime Minister’s Charity Golf Classic
  • 26: Scotiabank Against Breast Cancer Ladies’ Golf Tournament
  • 30 (public holiday): Indian Arrival Day
  • Harvest Festivals (Tobago): Delaford, Belle Garden, Mason Hall, Whim
  • Tobago Sailing Week
  • Tobago Sea to Sea Marathon
  • Rapsofest

 

 

  • 26 (public holiday): Corpus Christi (Latin for “the body of Christ”) is celebrated by Catholics in honour of the sacramental Eucharist, in commemoration of the Last Supper many Christians receive Communion on this day

June

  • TBD (public holiday): Eid-ul-Fitr — the most widely recognised of our Islamic observances, Eid marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan, celebrated in homes and mosques
  • Ganga Dhaara River Festival: honours the descent of India’s sacred River Ganges (Blanchisseuse, Trinidad)
  • 5: World Environment Day
  • 10: Rainbow Cup International Triathlon (Tobago)
  • 15 (public holiday): Corpus Christi
  • 17: Annual Yoruba Village Drum Festival (Trinidad)
  • 17: Gentlemen Senior’s Golf Classic19 (public holiday): Labour Day, marked by trade union marches and gatherings in Fyzabad (Trinidad)
  • Tobago Day at the Races (Santa Rosa Park, Trinidad)
  • WeBeat Festival (Festival of culture celebrated in St. James, Trinidad)
  • Junior Tobago Heritage Festival
  • Trinidad & Tobago Kingfish Tournament
  • Dragon Boat Festival (Tobago)
  • Charlotteville Fisherman’s Fest (Tobago)
  • St Peter’s Day Fisherman’s Festival
  • Harvest Festivals (Tobago): Lambeau, Bloody Bay, Roxborough

July

  • 2: TTMCO Charity Golf Tournament
  • 15–1: Tobago Heritage Festival – celebrating Tobago’s unique contributions to our culture through food, folklore, song and dance, artisan creations and storytelling
  • Mango Festival
  • Motor Rally (Tobago)
  • South Caribbean Open Golf Tournament (Tobago)
  • Tobago Games
  • Tobago Swim Classic
  • J’ouvert in July (Trinidad)
  • T&T Game Fishing: Junior Tournament
  • Carnival band launch season begins (through to September/October)
  • Great Fete Weekend (Tobago)
  • Opera festival (Trinidad)
  • African Film Festival Trinidad & Tobago
  • Trade & Investment Convention (Trinidad)
  • Harvest Festival (Tobago): Castara, Black Rock

August

  • 1 (public holiday): Emancipation Day
  • Arima Borough Day: J’ouvert, steelpan, calypso and parties marking the borough’s anniversary (Trinidad)
  • Castara Fisherman’s Fete (Tobago)
  • Santa Rosa Festival (Trinidad)
  • Great Race (Trinidad to Tobago)
  • Oshun River Festival (Trinidad) — marked by Orisha devotees celebrating the goddess of love, fertility and inland waters
  • Muhtadi International Drumming Festival: started in Canada by Trinidad-born Muhtadi Thomas, and highlights different cultures around the call of the drums (Tobago)
  • Harvest Festival (Tobago): Speyside
  • 31 (public holiday): Independence Day — commemorates the islands’ independence from Britain in 1962, featuring a parade of the protective services; national awards; and fireworks

September

  • Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival – the Caribbean’s second largest festival devoted to film, the ttff showcases full and feature length productions from the region and its diaspora. The festival is supplemented by a series of workshops and training sessions on the art, technique and practicalities involved in the filmmaking process
  • Trinidad & Tobago Restaurant Week
  • Tobago International Cycling Classic
  • Angostura Rum Festival
  • Tobago Fest (TBD): parties, street parade and J’ouvert. (NB: this event has not taken place in the last few years.)
  • 18: Living Water Community Charity Golf Tournament
  • 24 (public holiday): Republic Day — marks the adoption in 1976 of a new republican constitution (in which a President replaced the Queen of England as the head of state, and the islands became a republic within the Commonwealth), and the first meeting of the republican parliament
  • Derby Horse Racing Classics (Trinidad)
  • Maracas Open Water Classic (Trinidad)
  • Republic Day Cycling Classic (Trinidad)
  • Scotiabank Women Against Breast Cancer Walk (WABC)
  • Panyard Sensations
  • Tobago International Gospel Festival
  • San Fernando Jazz Festival (Trinidad)
  • Best Village competition finals
  • Parang season: begins with competition at month’s end, runs through December (Trinidad)
  • Turtle watching season ends

October

  • 2–8: Tobago International Cycling Classic
  • 9–16: Santa Rosa First People’s Heritage Week, where descendants from around the region gather for a smoke ceremony and street procession in Arima (Trinidad)
  • TBC: Hosay — this festival of Islamic origins commemorates the martyrdom of Hassan and Hussein, grandsons of the Prophet Mohammed. It is principally observed in St James, but Hosay processions may also be seen in Cedros and Curepe. Tadjahs, ornamented replicas of Hussein’s tomb, are carried through the streets to the rhythmic accompaniment of tassa drumming
  • Taste T&T: (grassroots festival with community cooking competitions, plus an international event where the country’s best chefs show the country’s haute cuisine)
  • Blue Food Festival (L’Anse Fourmi/Bloody Bay recreation ground, Tobago)
  • Animae Caribe – Animation and Digital Media Festival (Trinidad)
  • Green Screen Film Festival
  • National Tourism Week
  • Ramleela Festival (two weeks before Divali, Trinidad)
  • Cycling on the Avenue
  • Steelpan & Jazz Festival (Trinidad)
  • Harvest Festivals (Tobago): Patience Hill
  • TBC (public holiday): Divali – the simplest things can create the most arresting sights. To celebrate Divali, small clay bowls known as deyas are filled with oil and lit by cotton wicks. In homes, mandirs and public spaces, the Hindu festival of lights is marked by dispalys of dozens or hundreds or thousands of these tiny flames, symbolising the victory of righteous forces over evil elements. Hindus perform  religious ceremonies in worship of Lakshmi, the goddess of light and prosperity

November

  • Tobago Christmas Caravan
  • International Surf Festival
  • Scarborough Cup Golf Tournament (Tobago)
  • Guardian Group SHINE 5k & 10k
  • Harvest Festivals (Tobago): Plymouth, Black Rock, Les Couteaux, Moriah, Scarborough, Montgomery
  • Pan is Beautiful
  • Harvest Festivals (Tobago): Plymouth, Black Rock, Les Coteaux, Moriah, Scarborough, Montgomery

December

  • 9th Annual Tobago House of Assembly Tree Lighting Ceremony
  • Christmas with the Marionettes Chorale (Trinidad)
  • Paramin Parang Festival (Trinidad)
  • Assembly Day: Tobago House of Assembly celebrates and awards Tobagonians’ achievements, along with exhibitions and a sports and recreation day
  • Tobago Flying Colours: annual kite flying festival in Plymouth
  • 25 (public holiday): Christmas Day
  • 26 (public holiday): Boxing Day, marked with horse racing and parties.

 

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