The people of Trinidad and Tobago embrace the coming of the New Year with great celebration and enthusiasm. Old Year’s Night is an occasion celebrated by spending time with family and friends to bring in the New Year.
Carnival is not just one festival, but a series of festivities between Christmas and Ash Wednesday. The duration of the Carnival season varies because Ash Wednesday signals the beginning of the 40-day Christian Lenten period of reflection, that ends with the Christian feast of Easter.
While Easter is recognized as a religious holiday worldwide, it is traditionally marked in Trinidad and Tobago with two public holidays - Good Friday and Easter Monday.
Many Christians around the world observe Good Friday on the Friday before Easter Sunday. It commemorates Jesus Christ’s Passion, crucifixion and death. Hot Cross Buns is a traditional Good Friday Bread.
Spiritual Baptist Day may also be known as Shouter Baptist Liberation Day and marks the 1951 repeal of the prohibition on practising the religion.
Corpus Christi is a long-standing tradition in our islands, going back to our pre-British occupation by the Catholic Spaniards. Though mainly observed by Roman Catholics, it is a designated public holiday. This special feast day is celebrated on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday, in commemoration of the institution of the Holy Eucharist.
Indian Arrival Day, celebrated on 30th May, commemorates the arrival of the first Indian Indentured labourers from India to Trinidad, in May 1845, on the ship Fatel Razack.
Declared a national holiday in 1973, Labour Day, celebrated on June 19th is the anniversary of the day the Butler Oilfield Riots took place.
Eid-ul-Fitr, or Eid, for short, is another of our religious holidays - this one, however, is Muslim in origin. It is the holiday that follows the holy fasting month of Ramadan, celebrated by devout Muslims the world over.
The Emancipation Bill was presented in Parliament by Thomas Buxton in 1833 and the Act came into effect on August 1, 1834. Marked the end of slavery in the British Empire. However as amidst the joy and celebration came the news that full freedom would not be granted immediately, but that ex-slaves would be apprenticed to their former master for a minimum of four (4) years.
Trinidad and Tobago gained its Independence from Great Britain on August 31st, 1962. At midnight on 30th August, 1962, the Union Jack (British flag) was lowered and the Trinidad and Tobago flag was raised for the first time.
Republic Day is celebrated on September 24 to commemorate the date when the country's Parliament had its first session. Such a date was chosen to avoid coincidence with Independence Day and give the citizens two public holidays instead of one holiday dedicated to two events.
East Indians brought the Hindu festival of Divali, which we affectionately call the Festival of Lights, to our shores before the turn of the 20th Century.
Hosay is an Islamic festival observed by Shi'a Muslims throughout the world. The celebration was brought to Trinidad as early as 1845.
On the 13th October 2017 the First Peoples of Trinidad and Tobago, celebrated the culture and history of the Amerindians on the islands.
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.
The day after Christmas Day, is celebrated as Boxing Day throughout the English-speaking Caribbean and in other Commonwealth countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.
The observance of Phagwa, or Holi as we also call it, was introduced to Trinidad and Tobago by indentured East Indian labourers around 1845.
This is a spring festival that takes place during the months of March and April. It is primarily a Hindu festival, but as with all observances in our multi-ethnic, multi-religious country, the wider community always gets involved - even if it is to just watch and admire.