Category: Trinidad & Tobago Festival Calendar

Divali in Felicity, Trinidad. Photo: Ariann Thompson

Divali: the festival of lights

Divali if one of the most beautiful, unifying, and anticipated holidays of the year, celebrated by Hindu faithful and the nation as a whole

Paddling the Ortoire River — kayakers look forward to the Maritime Ortoire River Race held in October every year. Photo courtesy the Trinidad Kayak Club

The Maritime Ortoire River Race

Paddlers delight Kayakers head to the southeast coast of Trinidad on Saturday 20 October to paddle in the ninth annual Maritime Ortoire River Race. Paddlers have been training in Chaguaramas over the past weeks, and there will be hot competition among paddlers to improve their standings. When & where The races start at 9am from

Fireworks. Photo by Kazim Daniel

Independence Day

Trinidad & Tobago Independence Day in a nutshell Independence Day — a public holiday — marks the occasion on 31 August, 1962 when Trinidad & Tobago’s became independent from Great Britain. The day is formally celebrated by a parades of the various protective services at the Queen’s Park Savannah in Port of Spain and in Scarborough,

The flambeaux street procession is a hallmark of Emancipation celebrations. Photo by Maria Nunes

Emancipation Day

Celebrated on 1 August to commemorate the end of slavery in the British colonies (1838), Emancipation Day — a public holiday — is marked with street processions (a morning procession, including towering moko jumbies, and a flambeaux-lit Canboulay procession in the evening); religious and spiritual observances; cultural shows and performances (dance, music, and theatre, including

Trinidad mosque. Photo: William Barrow

Eid-ul-Fitr

Eid-ul-Fitr, often shortened locally to just “Eid” (and sometimes spelt Eid al-Fitr internationally), marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan — the ninth month of the Muslim year, according to the sighting of the new, or crescent, moon. On the day Eid is declared, observances customarily begins before sunrise, with prayer and the

Dancers perform for Indian Arrival Day in Trinidad. Photo: Edison Boodhoosingh

Indian Arrival Day

This national public holiday (30 May) commemorates the arrival of the first indentured labourers from India on the Fatel Rozack in 1845, following the Emancipation of African slaves in 1838. Waves of indentured immigrants arrived at Nelson Island, off the coast of Chaguaramas, before being sent to various estates where the living conditions were often

Erykah Badu performs at the Tobago Jazz Experience. Photo courtesy the THA

The Tobago Jazz Experience

Each April there is jazz! Jazz on the beach, jazz in bars and lounges, jazz in the park, jazz everywhere! For four years, the Plymouth International Jazz Festival headlined pop, R&B, hip-hop, soca, and jazz stars from around the world. The Tobago Jazz Experience replaced the Plymouth Jazz Festival in 2009, featuring some of the

Spiritual Baptist Liberation Day is celebrated in March. Photo by Chris Anderson

Spiritual (Shouter) Baptist Liberation Day

Celebrated on 30 March, Spiritual (Shouter) Baptist Liberation Day commemorates the abolition of the colonial-era British-instituted Shouters Prohibition Ordinance. In 1917, the Ordinance was enacted and for 34 years this syncretic religion (a mix of Christian and African Orisha elements) was banned, ostensibly, for no greater reason than the loud sounds of their singing and clapping

Goat racing is popular at Great Fete as well as during the Easter long weekend. Photo by Stephen Broadbridge

Easter Goat and Crab Racing in Buccoo and Mt. Pleasant

Buccoo Goat & Crab Racing Festival, and Mt. Pleasant Goat Race Perhaps the most unique of all Tobagonian traditions is the Goat and Crab Races. At Easter time, only Friday and Monday are official holidays, but Easter Tuesday is not really a day for work in Tobago: people head to Buccoo in droves for the

Siparee/Supari Mai or the Black Madonna/Virgin at the Church of La Divina Pastora (the Divine Shepherdess) in Siparia. Photo: Ariann Thompson/MEP Publishers

The Miracle Mother — La Divina Pastora, Siparee/Supari Mai, the Black Madonna

In what was once a Capuchin pilgrimage church of the same name in Siparia — a town settled by the first Spanish colonists — stands a dark-skinned statue of the Virgin Mary as La Divina Pastora (the Divine Shepherdess). But this is not her only name, and Catholics are not the only ones who celebrate her.