Trinidad & Tobago Gearing Up for Festival-Filled Summer



A scene from the annual Santa Rosa Carib Festival.

Home to the largest Carnival in the Caribbean, Trinidad & Tobago is welcoming revelers from around the world to experience the island’s rich heritage. With multiple festivals celebrating the nation’s music, literature, culture and religion, travelers are in for an experiential treat like no other.

Jazz Week (International Jazz Day) – June 23-28
Trinidad & Tobago Jazz Week promises a week of creative, harmonious jazz that will capture audiences’ delight in venues around Port-of-Spain from June 23rd to the 28th. The National Academy of Performing Arts (NAPA) will be the centerpiece of June’s Jazz Week, hosting a concert on June 28th featuring calypsonian Mistah Shak, who will present a teaser for his bois-themed 2015 J’Ouvert band. The week will feature many other local artists, including alto saxophonists Grace Kelly and Tia Fuller, Beyonce’s former saxophonist.

Tobago Heritage Festival – July 16-August 1
Trinidad & Tobago may be one nation, but the history of each island has taken different twists and turns. Originally, Tobago was claimed by English adventurers, changing hands a number of times, eventually leading to the two islands joining as a British Crown Colony in 1889. The Tobago Heritage Festival celebrates traditions that are largely African, with eclectic events and dances hosted in villages throughout the island. Tobagonians from various communities have used this celebration of culture to educate and entertain both visitors and local youth. The main event each year is the traditional Ole Time Wedding, held in the village of Moriah. This mock marriage ceremony highlights the influences of European culture on the local population featuring a colorful procession of the satin-garbed bride and top-hatted groom while guests dance in the streets. The fetes begin in early July and climax in a J’ouvert and street parade on Emancipation Day, August 1.

Emancipation – August 1
On August 1, 1838, the enslaved Africans throughout the British Empire in the Caribbean were finally freed from the bondage of chattel slavery. In 1985, Emancipation Day was declared a national holiday. Since then, Emancipation celebrations have developed into a major national festival, where tens of thousands of people participate in celebrations. The Lidj Yasu Omowale Emancipation Village in Port of Spain, Trinidad is the center of activities with exhibitions of a joyful street parade, dancing to the sound of African drums and chants, foods, music and performances to create a colorful spectacle. As the first country to declare a national holiday commemorating the end of slavery, Trinidad & Tobago is now dubbed the Emancipation Capital of the world.

Santa Rosa Carib Festival -August 25-31
The Santa Rosa Carib Festival takes place in August during the week leading up to Independence Day, August 31, and is intended to pay tribute to the First Peoples of the New World as well as to expose their culture to the nation. The ceremonies include the crowning of the Carib Queen, an elder matron of their community who performs the role of focusing their heritage and traditions, a church procession and performance of some of their traditional and ritual activities – smoke ceremonies and prayer.

Trinidad & Tobago Tourism,www.gotrinidadandtobago.com