Trinidad and Tobago have numerous festivals and cultural events, which is a reflection of its diverse population.
Carnival and Emancipation Day are linked to the plight of African slaves. Diwali and Indian Arrival Day are observed by Trinidadians of Indian ancestry. The Dragon Boat Festival marks Chinese arrival to Trinidad.
Here are some important festivals and events that are worth the trip to Trinidad and Tobago.
Most Caribbean islands have their own carnivals, but Trinidad created the original concept. The modern carnival takes place in Port of Spain, shortly before Ash Wednesday. The dancing, music and festive spirit are electrifying. However, the origins are rooted in struggle and resistance.
The emancipation of the slaves was a game changer, but the British colonial government didn’t like the idea of the locals holding their own celebrations. They tried to ban certain instruments, but it was all in vain. The locals made music using makeshift instruments, like small biscuit tins.
Emancipation Day became a national holiday in Trinidad on Aug. 1, 1985. People celebrate the day with parties, cultural events and performances. The festivities conclude with the Flambeau march to honor the courage of the formerly enslaved ancestors.
The main Diwali festival is in India; however, “The Festival of Lights” in Trinidad is the largest of its kind in the Caribbean. During this period, a host of non-meat dishes are available, including roti, curried mango, dhal and more.
Trinidad and Tobago officially became a republic on Aug. 1, 1976. However, Republic Day is on Sept. 24, when the county’s Parliament convened for the first time. To honor it, people listen to speeches and attend special public events.
Tobago has some special events of its own. The Tobago Heritage Festival started in 1986 and bloomed into an annual event. The festival features spoken word, dancing and the chance for participants to sample delicious Tobagonian cuisine.
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