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Category: Festivals — Trinidad

Divali in Felicity, Trinidad. Photo: Ariann Thompson

Divali: the festival of lights

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

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

Worship at a Muslim Mosque in Trinidad. Photo: Edison Boodoosingh

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

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

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.

3 Canal J'Ouvert. Photo by Elliot Francois

Our time — Trinidad Carnival in the new millennium

This is the mother of all West Indian style carnivals around the world. The intoxicating mix of high-energy music and street performed by masqueraders, some in costumes 50ft tall, make the massive parade an unforgettable experience of a lifetime.

Candy Coated Love Fest is held on Carnival Friday. Photo courtesy Candy Coated Events

Endless wuk — a Trinidad Carnival guide

A brief history of Carnival The history of Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago can be read as a history of banned things. When the French arrived in the 1780s, they brought a tradition of pre-Lenten celebration, most visibly represented by masquerade balls. The island’s economy and society was supported by slave labour, and those slaves

A menacing blue devil intimidates the crowd. Photo by Atiba Williams

Trinidad Carnival: the birth & evolution

Central to understanding much of the Trinidadian psyche is to understand the festival culture of the island. And no festival is greater than the Trinidad Carnival. The dynamism of the festival has sparked its reproduction throughout the rest of the Caribbean island chain, and as far away as Toronto, New York, Miami and Notting Hill. But everyone knows that Trinidad is the “mother of all West Indian carnivals”, which attracts visitors from all over the world, including international celebrities like Halle Berry. Its roots are here

Machel Montano performs at CIC Fete. Photo by Jermaine Cruickshank, courtesy Machel Montano

The Trinidad Carnival season

The ritual of Trinidad Carnival involves more than buying a costume and jumping in the streets for two days. Let us initiate you into the customs of Carnival. It’s a season — a lifestyle!