Trinidad and Tobago
Calendar of Events
Too big for a confined schedule, Carnival season begins immediately after Christmas with public and private parties and daily practice sessions in the panyards.
Visitors are welcome to the panyards, where the steelbands practice for the Panorama competition, the year's most prestigious musical contest
Carnival's climax comes on the two days proceeding Ash Wednesday starting with J'Ouvert, a daybreak celebration on Carnival Monday. Costumed revelers and on lookers alike can enjoy the sounds of steelband, calypso and soca music for the duration of the two-day festival.
Panorama Steel Pan Festival A truly local event, the steel pan festival as it is known internationally, or Panorama, which is the local term, celebrates Trinidad and Tobago's national instrument, the steel pan.
In addition to zonal competitions held across the country, and preliminary and semi-final national judging, the festival climaxes on Carnival Saturday night at the Queen's Park Savannah, where bands from across the country compete for the coveted Panorama title. Bands can consist anywhere from 100 to 400 players.
Phagwa A celebration focused on welcoming harvest time for the Hindu community, Phagwa is full of dancing, singing, costumes and vibrant colors. Even though this celebration is an ancient Indian ritual, it is not confined to the Hindu community. Over the years a larger population of the island has become involved. A beer is a colored water and is sprayed over the participants of the festival as a reminder of the spring season.
Jazz Artists on the Greens
Audiences crowd the expansive, emerald green lawn at the UWI Centre for Creative and Festival Arts, ready for an evening of fine performances from local jazz acts.
Annual Tobago Game Fishing Tournament
The Annual Tobago Game Fishing Tournament is held in the fishing village of Charlotteville, nestled on Man 0' War Bay at the north end of the island.
Buccoo Goat Race Festival
The colorful and festive day starts out with a street parade and booths offering a wide array of goods and information. The race starts with the trainers parading their charges before the spectators, including many dignitaries. Once the bets are placed and the gates are opened, the goats, with jockeys in tow, race down the 100m track.
Companion to the goat races are the crab races where, after all is said and done, the winners and losers taste the same.
The year 1884 marked the beginning of the Hosay festival on Trinidad. Once a mourning festival for the martyred grandsons of the Prophet Mohammed, Hussain and Hassan has now evolved into a three day event filled with colorful flags, tadjahs tombs made of bamboo with colored tissue, street parades and tassa drums. The festival ends with the tadjahs and moons wheeled to the sea for a ceremony filled with prayers and offerings.
This festival comes from T&T's African heritage. Month-long activities include workshops, lectures, demonstrations and live performances focusing on rapso artists and street poets. The main events include Breaking New Ground, Children's Storytime, Gala Street Procession, Ragin Rapso and Rapso Nite.
Tobago Sail Week
International Gospel Festival
The oldest river festival in the world, remembering an ancient cataclysmic ecological event when a severe need for fresh water threatened to destroy human civilization. There are seven ghaats, or locations, along the riverbanks where over 25 activities are held and worship is observed in traditional yellow clothing.
This public holiday marks the abolishment of slavery throughout the English speaking Caribbean in 1839. Since 1985, locals celebrate this day with a strong emphasis on African-oriented cultural events and the Great Race, a power boat race from Trinidad to Tobago.
Santa Rosa Festival
Osun River Festival
Focusing attention on the importance of good water and the cleansing of the river, a tribute of food and flowers for Osun is placed at the river's mouth, where the tide takes it out to sea.
Carib Great Care
This powerboat race starts in Trinidad and ends at Store Bay in Tobago. Small and big powerboats are divided to in separate categories where prizes of cash and trophies are awarded to the winners.
Independence Day, August 31
T&T's Muslim community celebrates the New Year as it focuses on the sighting of the new moon by a holy lmam. Once the new moon has been sighted, the Muslim's go through an entire day of feasting to break the month long fast. The celebration includes visits to relatives and friends, exchanging gifts and lavish dinners celebration.
The oldest open air theatre in the Caribbean held during the Hindu observance of “Nay Raatam, nine nights of the Divine Mothers.” This is a 10-day serialized play that recounts the journey of the king, Rama and his consort, Sita, and a story of victory of good over evil. It ends with Divali, the Hindu festival of lights.
Best Village Folk Festival
A month long series consisting of villages and communities participating in various contests makes up the Best Village Folk Festival. Trinidadians & Tobagonians throughout the country gather to show off their traditional skills in music, dance, drama, cuisine and other contests.
Apart from traditional Christmas cuisine, other customary specialties include sorrel, a crimson colored soft drink obtained from a local flower, ponche de creme a sweet milk and rum-based drink, pastelles spicy meat filled corn patties, ginger beer and black fruit cake.
Parang, performed by costumed bands and singers, is performed at concert halls, hotels and private parties during the Christmas season and at an annual national competition.