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Events

Tobago Carnival Regatta

Previously known as the Angostura Yachting World Regatta, it might not be the biggest Caribbean race week, but it's certainly the best. Held in mid-February, the event features four days of yacht racing in four classes - racing, cruising, charter and liveaboard. A Regatta Village is set up in the gardens of the Crown Point Beach Resort at Store Bay and there are various organised (and unorganised) parties, games and other events.

Carib Great Race

The annual Great Race is an exciting power boat race that starts in Carenage in Trinidad and ends at Store Bay in Tobago. Boats of different classes compete in different classes. Some average more than 90 mph on the 85 mile crossing. The event is held in early September.

Tobago International Game Fishing Tournament

Taking place in March, during the prime fishing season, this event attracts game fishermen and women from Trinidad, the Caribbean region and internationally. The event is held in Charlotteville.

Carnival

Trinidad and Tobago is the birthplace of calypso and steel band and the Trinidad Carnival is an experience not to be missed. Locals describe it as the Greatest Show on Earth! and they're not far wrong. Hot on the heels of the world's largest, glitziest Rio Carnival, and the weirdest, most mind-blowing New Orleans Mardi Gras, the two-day Trinidad Carnival is by far the biggest carnival in the Caribbean and has become a national obsession involving the entire population. There are numerous associated events leading up to the actual Carnival.

Tobago has its own Carnival, but this is much smaller and more community-based affair than the main event in Port-of-Spain. It takes place in Scarborough and as the town becomes extremely crowded and is closed to road traffic, it is essential to get there very early if you want a good view. The two days of carnival (Monday and Tuesday) are not officially public holidays, but effectively treated as such with all banks and many shops and businesses closed for business.

Divali

This Hindu festival, in late October/early November, is known as the Festival of Lights due to the tradition of illuminating deyas (wick-equipped clay pots) in honour of Lakshmi, the goddess of light, beauty, riches and love.

Eid-ul-Fitr

Held in November, Eid marks the end of Ramadan (the ninth month of the Muslim year). Fasting is practised from sunrise to sunset and the end of the fast commemorated by feasting and almsgiving; food is shared with friends and neighbours of all beliefs.

Emancipation Day

Celebrated on August 1 to mark the anniversary of the abolition of slavery in 1838. There are church services, street processions, an Emancipation Village and special entertainment

Goat & Crab races

Held at Buccoo over the Easter weekend, these races are hilarious to watch but taken very seriously by participants and those betting.

Harvest Festivals

The Harvest Festivals recognise the importance of food in Tobagonian tradition and are community feasts held in different parts of the island throughout the year. Villagers invite friends, family and strangers to their homes to share Thanksgiving meals. The festivities start with a church service and end with a cantata by the village choir.

Indian Arrival Day

Celebrated on the 30 May to commemorate the first arrival of indentured labourers from India, following the emancipation of African slaves in 1838. The celebration is an affirmation of the contribution of Indo-Trinidadians as citizens of Trinidad and Tobago, with re-enactments and street parades.

Jazz Festival

Since its introduction in 2004, the Plymouth Jazz Festival has become possibly the largest and most notable music event in the Caribbean. It has little to do with jazz and headliners in recent years have included Diana Ross, Shakira, Rod Stewart, Whitney Houston and Elton John. Held in late April each year at Plymouth, it is vital to book your accommodation very early if you plan to visit Tobago during this period - and be prepared to stomach the highly inflated prices that many properties charge.

Pan Jazz in de Yard

What started off as a fringe event to the Plymouth Jazz Festival is now becoming a main event in Tobago's jazz-season calendar. Held over two nights during the festival (22nd and 23rd April 2009), the event features a line up of acclaimed local and overseas jazz and pan artists.

Spiritual Baptist Liberation Day

Celebrated on 30 March of each year to commemorate the abolition of the British-instituted Shouters Prohibition Ordinance, which forbade participation in this African-influenced religion.

Tobago Fest

This mini-carnival style event takes place in September. In keeping with Carnival tradition there’s a Parade of Bands, a Fest Queen Contest, Night Mas’, J’Ouvert, soca concerts and steelband.

Tobago Heritage Festival

Tobagonians are very proud of their culture and history. The Tobago Heritage Festival occurs every year from the middle of July to early August. Villagers from different communities comes out in their glory to perform with folk singing, dancing and feasting. The villagers dress up in traditional costumes that depict village life from the early 1900's. During the year each community has its own festival. Each village has different events which range from 'ole time mas, 'ole time dance, old time wedding, limbo and jig to stick fighting.