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Christmas Day

According  to records Christmas was first observed  in Trinidad in 1569. The festival was celebrated by six  priests of the order of Observantines headed by Fr.  Miguel Diosdados (Reyes). They visited  several villages and were treated to local  cuisine.

Christmas in  Trinidad and Tobago is a very joyous occasion.  Families commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ by  going to church. For many this means an  annual pilgrimage to church on Christmas  Eve to celebrate Midnight  Mass.Christmas is also a memorable  event that is celebrated by large gatherings of families  and friends.Sumptuous meals are prepared,  and visitors are invited to partake of the  feast. These visitors include not only friends and  family, but also those groups of  people who go from house to house serenading  the members of the home within digenous Spanish  carols, known as Parang.

 These groups,  similar to European and American carollers, are called  Paranderos, and they sing traditional Parang  songs. They trek through neighbourhoods, evoking the  spirit of the season with joyful melodies and infectious  rhythms. The cuatro, bass box, mandolin, ‘chac-chac’  (maracas), flutes, tambourines, guitar and other instruments are all used to  accompany the Paranderos. The vibrant rhythms  of Parang music encourage one and all to sing  along.The Paranderos are rewarded for  their performances with Christmas food &  drink offered by the host of the house.

Traditional food served at Christmas  time consists of generous helpings of ham, turkey,  pastelles, fruit cake, sweet breads, and other selected  delicacies, along with traditional drinks such as  sorrel, ginger beer, and ponche de crème.

Christmas is a very  important time in Trinidad & Tobago. It is the fusion  of the end of year excitement while ushering the  imminent carnival season. It is a time when loved ones  gather to reminisce on the past year while celebrating  the presence of each other. It is a time of food and  drink, music and celebration, and peace and love, as the  birth of Christ is honoured and celebrated.

Christmas in Trinidad and Tobago

Sorrel