Calendar: festivals, events & public holidays for 2020

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

Editor’s note:

The Coronavirus pandemic has, of course, had a significant impact on festivals the world over. Various celebrations have either been postponed, cancelled, moved online, or have restricted access (particularly in the case of faith-based festivals). We’ve included information below about the traditional festival calendar in the islands, with links to more information where available.

Calendar of major Trinidad & Tobago festivals, events & public holidays for 2020

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 — or a local wanting to experience more of your country — there are countless opportunities on the islands’ diverse cultural calendar around which you can plan your explorations. 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.

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.

January 2020

  • 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.
  • Carnival season begins
  • Sailing season begins
  • Carnival Educative Arts Festival & Carnival Caravan (Tobago)
  • 24: Trinidad & Tobago International Marathon (Trinidad)
  • 25: Chinese New Year (Year of the Rat)
  • Harvest Festivals (Tobago): Pembroke, Parlatuvier, Spring Garden, Plymouth and Mt Pleasant

February 2020

  • Carnival Educative Arts Festival (Tobago)
  • Tobago Carnival Regatta (Tobago)
  • Calypso Fiesta
  • Red Cross Kiddies Carnival
  • National Jr Panorama Finals
  • National Jr Calypso Monarch Finals
  • National Stick-fighting Finals
  • Re-enactment of the Canboulay Riots
  • Traditional Carnival Characters Festival
  • National Panorama Final
  • Dimanche Gras
  • 24 & 25: Carnival Monday and Tuesday — J’ouvert and (senior) Parade of the Bands
  • Harvest Festivals (Tobago): Hope, Adelphi, Buccoo, Franklyn and Bon Accord

March 2020

  • 16: Phagwa (Holi)
  • 21-24: Pan American Club Crew Dragon Boat Championships
  • 21-28: Film and Folklore Festival
  • 28: Jazz Artists on the Greens (Trinidad)
  • 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
  • Pigeon Peas Festival
  • 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 2020

  • 3–5: NEW FIRE Festival (Ortinola Estate, St. Joseph, Trinidad)
  • 10–13 (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 observed 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.
  • 23–26: Tobago Jazz Experience
  • Rally Trinidad
  • Tobago Fashion Coda
  • Inter-school Dragon Boat Regatta
  • Jazz Under the Stars at Green Meadows
  • Harvest Festival (Tobago): Goodwood

May 2020

  • 1-3: Bocas Lit Fest – The Trinidad & Tobago Literary Festival
  • 2: Pt Fortin Borough Day (Trinidad) — full week of J’ouvert, mas, pan and parties leading up to the big street party
  • 3: La Divina Pastora (Trinidad)
  • 12–16: Tobago International Game Fishing Tournament
  • 23 (TBC, 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
  • 31: Ganga Dhaara River Festival honours the descent of India’s sacred River Ganges (Blanchisseuse, Trinidad)
  • North Coast Jazz Festival (Blanchisseuse, Trinidad)
  • Tobago Sea to Sea Marathon
  • May MTB Madness
  • Maypole Festival (Tobago)
  • Africa Film Festival
  • European Film Festival (Trinidad)
  • Decibel Entertainment Conference & Expo
  • T&T Fashion Week 2TFW
  • Harvest Festivals (Tobago): Delaford, Belle Garden, Mason Hall, Whim
  • 30 (public holiday): Indian Arrival Day

June 2020

  • 11 (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
  • 19 (public holiday): Labour Day, marked by trade union marches and gatherings in Fyzabad (Trinidad)
  • 20: Annual Yoruba Village Drum Festival (Trinidad)
  • WeBeat Festival (St James, Trinidad)
  • Best Village Food & Folk Fair (Queens Park Savannah)
  • Junior Tobago Heritage Festival
  • Dragon Boat Festival (Tobago)
  • Rainbow Cup International Triathlon (Tobago)
  • Charlotteville Fisherman’s Fest (Tobago)
  • St Peter’s Day Fisherman’s Festival
  • Harvest Festivals (Tobago): Lambeau, Bloody Bay, Roxborough

July 2020

  • 15–1: Tobago Heritage Festival – celebrating Tobago’s unique contributions to our culture through food, folklore, song and dance, artisan creations and storytelling. Click here for more information about changes to the 2020 edition because of the Coronavirus pandemic
  • Great Fete Weekend (Tobago)
  • Angostura Bitter Rivals
  • Trans-Atlantic Expo, International Market and Trade Exposition (Lidj Yasu Omowale Emancipation Village, Queen’s Park Savannah, Trinidad)
  • Mango Festival (Trinidad)
  • Motor Rally (Tobago)
  • J’ouvert in July (Trinidad)
  • Carnival band launch season begins (through September/October)
  • Opera festival (Trinidad)
  • Trade & Investment Convention (Trinidad)
  • Harvest Festival (Tobago): Castara, Black Rock

August 2020

  • 1 (public holiday): Emancipation Day
  • 22 Great Race (Trinidad to Tobago)
  • Arima Borough Day: J’ouvert, steelpan, calypso and parties marking the borough’s anniversary (Trinidad)
  • Moruga (Amerindian, Columbus and Emancipation) Heritage Day Festival
  • Castara Fisherman’s Fete (Tobago)
  • Santa Rosa Festival (Trinidad)
  • Oshun River Festival (Trinidad) — marked by Orisha devotees celebrating the goddess of love, fertility and inland waters
  • Laventille Steelband Festival (Trinidad)
  • Pan on d’ Avenue (Woodbrook, Trinidad)
  • Reggae on the Beach (Tobago)
  • 30 (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
  • 31 (public holiday): Independence Day — commemorates the islands’ independence from Britain in 1962, featuring a parade of the protective services; national awards; and fireworks
  • Harvest Festival (Tobago): Speyside

September 2020

  • 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
  • 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
  • 24 (public holiday): Invaders Republic Day J’ouvert (Tragarete Road, Trinidad)
  • Angostura Rum Festival
  • Trinidad & Tobago Restaurant Week
  • Derby Horse Racing Classics (Trinidad)
  • Maracas Open Water Swim (Trinidad)
  • Parang season: begins with competition at month’s end, runs through December (Trinidad)
  • Turtle watching season ends

October 2020

  • 1–6: Tobago International Cycling Classic
  • 7–16: Santa Rosa First People’s Heritage Week, where descendants from around the region gather for a smoke ceremony and street procession in Arima (Trinidad)
  • 17–25: Ramleela Festival (two weeks before Divali, Trinidad)
  • Blue Food Festival (L’Anse Fourmi/Bloody Bay recreation ground, Tobago)
  • Animae Caribe: Animation and Digital Media Festival (Trinidad)
  • Steelpan & Jazz Festival (Trinidad)
  • Chinese Arrival Dragon Boat Festival (Trinidad)
  • COCO Dance Festival
  • Ortoire River Race (Trinidad)
  • Calypso History Month
  • Harvest Festivals (Tobago): Patience Hill

November 2020

  • International Surf Festival
  • Green Screen: The Environmental Film Festival
  • Harvest Festivals (Tobago): Plymouth, Black Rock, Les Couteaux, Moriah, Scarborough, Montgomery
  • 10: Invaders Steel Orchestra’s Pan, Parang and Pork Dinner and Dance
  • 14 (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
  • Panorama competitions begin

December 2020

  • 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.
  1. Crystal Rodriguez 8 June, 2018 at 7:19 pm

    Good-evening. Love the listing. However, please note that the Trans-Atlantic Expo, International Market and Trade Exposition, Lidj Yasu Omowale Emancipation Village is usually held from July 28 to August 1 every year at the Queen’s Park Savannah. Please feel free to include it in your listing. Great job. Keep it up. God bless.


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