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Calendar: Festivals, Events & Public Holidays

  
50th anniversay fireworks at the Queen's Park Savannah in Trinidad. Photo: Chris Anderson

50th anniversay fireworks at the Queen’s Park Savannah in Trinidad. Photo: Chris Anderson

 

2014 Calendar of Major Trinidad & Tobago Festivals, Events & Public Holidays

Trinidad and Tobago are festival islands where there is always something to celebrate. If you’re an overseas visitor planning a vacation or holiday where you want to immerse yourself in the culture and lifestyle of Trinidad and Tobago, there are countless opportunities on the islands’ diverse cultural calendar around which you can plan your trip. Here are some of the biggest and most distinctive festivals, holidays and events.

Visit our respective Trinidad Festivals and Tobago Festivals sections for details about each islands’ biggest happenings.

NB: Many dates are set just before the events are scheduled, and are always subject to change or cancellation. For more, see our Trinidad and Tobago Festivals sections.
If you would like to submit your Trinidad & Tobago event for consideration, please contact us.

January

  • 1 (public holiday): New Year’s Day – friends old and new; parties great and small. The good-luck dish for bringing in the new year is our pelau with black-eyed peas.
  • Carnival season begins
  • Harvest Festivals (Tobago): Pembroke, Parlatuvier, Spring Garden, Plymouth and Mt Pleasant
  • Sailing season begins
  • Carnival Educative Arts Festival & Carnival Caravan (Tobago)
  • 31: Chinese New Year (year of the horse) – also known as the lunar new year. It is celebrated for 15 days and ends with the Lantern Festival

February

  • Carnival countdown begins
  • Harvest Festivals (Tobago): Hope, Adelphi, Buccoo, Franklyn and Bon Accord
  • Carnival Educative Arts Festival (Tobago)
  • Tobago Carnival Regatta (Tobago)
  • 28: Soca Monarch Finals (Trinidad) this annual double-header takes place on Carnival Friday or “Fantastic Friday” as it’s come to be known, and showcases soca artists from around the region vying for two different titles: Power Soca Monarch and Groovy Soca Monarch

March

  • 1: Panorama Finals (Trinidad) – the finest steelbands compete for the title of the year
  • 2: Dimanche Gras (Trinidad)
  • 3 & 4: Carnival Monday and Tuesday
  • 30 (public holiday): Spiritual “Shouter” Baptist Liberation Day commemorates the end of the colonial ban on the “Shouter” Baptist faith, a fusion of African and Christian traditions, with performances and religious observances
  • Carnival cool-downs
  • Harvest Festivals (Tobago): Mt. St. George, Mason Hall, Roxborough, Bon Accord.
  • Phagwa (Holi)
  • Tobago International Game Fishing Tournament
  • Trinidad & Tobago Golf Open
  • Jazz Artists on the Greens (St. Augustine, Trinidad)
  • Turtle nesting season begins on both islands (Trinidad’s north and east coasts, and the leeward coast of Tobago)

April

  • 13: Palm Sunday Missionary Love Feast in Moriah (Tobago)
  • 18–22 (with public holidays): long Easter weekend features hot cross buns, horse racing at the Santa Rosa track in Arima (Trinidad), and goat and crab races in Tobago’s Mt. Pleasant (Monday) and Buccoo (Tuesday). Public holidays are obseved on Good Friday, and Easter Sunday (with the public holiday falling on the Monday). Look out for the beating of the Good Friday bobolee, an effigy of Judas Iscariot. These days, you’re just as likely to see effigies of politicians, notorious characters of all kinds and occasionally some very specific ones representing particularly bad ex-boyfriends.
  • 19–27: Tobago Jazz Experience
  • 23–27: Bocas Lit Fest – The Trinidad & Tobago Literary Festival
  • Pan in the 21st Century
  • Harvest Festivals (Tobago): Goodwood
  • Point Fortin Borough Day (Trinidad): full week of J’ouvert, mas, pan and parties leading up the big street party

May

  • 8: La Divina Pastora (Siparia, Trinidad)
  • 30 (public holiday): Indian Arrival Day
  • Harvest Festivals (Tobago): Whim, Delaford, Belle Garden and Mason Hall
  • Maypole Festival (Tobago)
  • Rainbow Cup International Triathlon (Tobago)
  • European Film Festival (Trinidad)
  • Tobago Fashion Weekend

June

  • 3 (public holiday): Corpus Christi (Latin for “the body of Christ”) is celebrated by Catholics in honour of the sacramental Eucharist, in commemoration of the Last Supper many Christians receive Communion on this day
  • 19 (public holiday): Labour Day, marked by trade union marches and gatherings in Fyzabad (Trinidad); Tobago Day at the Races (Santa Rosa Park, Trinidad)
  • 29: St. Peter’s Day Fisherman’s Festival
  • Ganga Dhaara River Festival: honours the descent of India’s sacred River Ganges (Blanchisseuse, Trinidad)
  • Harvest Festivals (Tobago): Lambeau, Bloody Bay and Roxborough
  • Junior Tobago Heritage Festival
  • WeBeat Festival, featuring vintage calypso, talent shows, steelband music and parade) (St. James, Trinidad)
  • Trade & Investment Convention (Trinidad)
  • Tobago Culinary Festival (Pigeon Point Heritage Park)

July

  • 12–20: the Marionettes Chorale presents the Caribbean premiere of Les Miserables
  • 29 (public holiday): Eid-ul-Fitr
  • Carnival band launch season begins (through September/October)
  • Charlotteville Fisherman’s Fest (Tobago)
  • Harvest Festivals (Tobago): Castara and Black Rock
  • Prime Minister’s Charity Golf Classic (Tobago)
  • Concerts featuring local and international stars
  • South Caribbean Open Golf Tournament (Tobago)
  • Steelpan Music Festival (Trinidad)
  • Tobago Games
  • J’ouvert in July
  • Tobago Underwater Carnival
  • Tourism Park: displays, tours, and live entertainment, hosted by the TDC
  • Mango Festival (Trinidad)
  • Tobago Heritage Festival (last two weeks of July) – celebrating Tobago’s unique contributions to our culture through food, folklore, song and dance, artisan creations and storytelling
  • Great Fête Weekend (Tobago)

August

  • 1 (public holiday): Emancipation Day
  • Arima Borough Day: J’ouvert, steelpan, calypso and parties marking the borough’s anniversary (Trinidad)
  • Best Village competition begins, runs through November
  • Castara Fisherman’s Fête (Tobago)
  • Harvest Festivals (Tobago): Speyside
  • Muhtadi International Drumming Festival: started in Canada by Trinidad-born Muhtadi Thomas, and highlights different cultures around the call of the drums (Tobago)
  • Osun River Festival: marked by Orisa devotees celebrating the goddess of love, fertility and inland waters
  • Carib Great Race
  • Santa Rosa Festival (Arima, Trinidad)
  • 31 (public holiday): Independence Day

September

  • International Open Water Swim
  • Derby horse racing classics in Arima (Trinidad)
  • Panyard Sensations
  • Parang season: begins with competition at month’s end, runs through December (Trinidad)
  • Tobago Fest: parties, street parade and J’ouvert
  • Tobago International Gospel Festival
  • San Fernando Jazz Festival (Trinidad)
  • Turtle watching season ends
  • Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival – the Caribbean’s second largest festival devoted to film, the ttff showcases full and feature length productions from the region and its diaspora. The festival is supplemented by a series of workshops and training sessions on the art, technique and practicalities involved in the filmmaking process.
  • 24 (public holiday): Republic Day

October

  • 8–14: Amerindian Heritage, where descendants from around the region gather for a smoke ceremony and street procession in Arima (Trinidad)
  • 23 (public holiday): Divali – the simplest things can create the most arresting sights. To celebrate Divali, small clay bowls known as deyas are filled with oil and lit by cotton wicks. In homes, mandirs and public spaces, the Hindu festival of lights is marked by dispalys of dozens or hundreds or thousands of these tiny flames, symbolising the victory of righteous forces over evil elements. Hindus perform  religious ceremonies in worship of Lakshmi, the goddess of light and prosperity
  • Taste T&T: (grassroots festival with community cooking competitions, plus an international event where the country’s best chefs show the country’s haute cuisine)
  • Blue Food Festival (L’Anse Fourmi/Bloody Bay recreation ground, Tobago)
  • Coast-2-Coast Adventure Race (Trinidad)
  • Harvest Festivals (Tobago): Patience Hill
  • National Tourism Week
  • Ramleela Festival
  • Steelpan & Jazz Festival (Trinidad)

November

  • 3: Hosay – this festival of Islamic origins commemorates the martyrdom of Hassan and Hussein, grandsons of the Prophet Mohammed. It is principally observed in St James, but Hosay processions may also be seen in Cedros and Curepe. Tadjahs, ornamented replicas of Hussein’s tomb, are carried through the streets to the rhythmic accompaniment of tassa drumming
  • TDC International Surf Festival
  • Hosay (Trinidad)
  • Best Village competition finals
  • Harvest Festivals (Tobago): Plymouth, Black Rock, Les Coteaux, Moriah, Scarborough, Montgomery
  • Pan is Beautiful
  • Scarborough Cup Golf Tournament (Tobago)
  • Tobago Christmas Caravan

December

  • 4–7: Christmas with the Marionettes Chorale (Trinidad)
  • Assembly Day: Tobago House of Assembly celebrates and awards Tobagonians’ achievements, along with exhibitions and a sports and recreation day
  • Paramin Parang Festival (Trinidad)
  • Tobago Flying Colours: annual kite flying festival in Plymouth
  • 25 (public holiday): Christmas Day
  • 26 (public holiday): Boxing Day, marked with horse racing and parties
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