facebook-no-script

Category: Festivals — Trinidad

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

A Trinidad festival guide for 2018

Here are some of Trinidad’s most treasured festivals, in alphabetical order…starting with the big one: the Carnival season.

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.

In 2017, a cermony was held at the Red House to honour indigenous ancestors whose skeletal remains were found under its foundations. Photo by Maria Nunes

A Trinidad festivals calendar

In alphabetical order, here are some of the island’s most treasured festivals. For a full calendar of events, click here. Bocas Lit Fest The five-day Trinidad & Tobago Literary Festival brings together readers, writers, poets, and publishers from the Caribbean diaspora each April for book launches, discussions, performances, readings, workshops, and the presentation of annual

Soca legend Super Blue whips the crowd into a frenzy at QRC fete. Photo by Aaron Richards

Trinidad Carnival: the who, what, where, when, why

The Carnival season is like one large buffet. You can sample all of it over multiple courses; just some of it, by confining yourself to a few things which appeal to you; or none at all (which means leaving the restaurant altogether, to keep the analogy going). But the point is, there’s no right way

A blue devil at the Canboulay Riots Re-enactment. Photo by Warren Le Platte

Trinidad Carnival — what you need to know

A large part of Trinidad Carnival is about abandon and confrontation, an anti-authoritarian movement subverting all that inhibits and represses. So what you’ll find is a strange, testy negotiation between organisation and mayhem, rules and anarchy. And that hot and sweaty, drunk and disorderly, loud and wassy space in the middle is bliss for some, purgatory for others! Love it or hate it, it is a uniquely Trinidadian experience you are unlikely to forget. Are you ready?

Enjoying one of the many Carnival fetes in Trinidad. Photo: Aaron Richards

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.

The Trinidad & Tobago Great Race. Photo: Lyden Thomas

Trinidad & Tobago celebrations & festivals

Few things speak more eloquently to Trinidad and Tobago’s reputation as a place where people like to party, and as a multi-cultural melange, than the quantity and variety of festivals on the national calendar.

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

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 the1780s, 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 were

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