All to See and Do for Easter in Tobago
Posted Mar 31, 2023
Easter is one of Tobago’s highly anticipated seasons as the island is enriched with a number of unifying observations, rituals, community activities and cultural festivities. From parties and car-shows to the staple 95th Annual Buccoo Goat and Crab Festival, there's more than enough to do for this long weekend.
Religion at the Epicenter: Holy Thursday & Good Friday
Holy Thursday marks the end of Lent, and the beginning of the religious ceremonies for the long weekend ahead with church services all around the island. Good Friday immediately follows with the trailing aroma of hot cross buns around the villages, and is typically known as either a day focused on marble pitching, or a beach day due to low tides. One can also expect to see the Good Friday bobolee—a stuffed caricature—erected in the villages for passers-by to beat, symbolizing opposition to the betrayal of Christ.
Poui Trees in Full Bloom
The sight of the Poui trees are nothing short of breathtaking, and with two colours to choose from for the backdrop of your photoshoot, or the blanket for your picnic, you can enjoy the Tabebuia (locally known as the Poui Tree) from this time of year and onward. These trees dot our hillsides and roadways with one strain producing enchanting yellow flowers, and the other producing pink flowers much akin of Japan's cherry blossoms.
Tasting Tobago: Harvest Festivals
Another token of this season is the Harvest festivals that adorn the Easter festivity calendar, with three in three days. Easter Sunday is Bethel’s harvest, followed by Easter Monday in Mount Pleasant, and Easter Tuesday in Buccoo. Harvest festivals are an excellent way to experience the unabated wealth of local cuisine on the island, as the corresponding village opens its doors to all to experience the all-you-can-eat “harvest” with dishes made for any passerby to grab a plate.
Kite Flying with the Family
Paint the sky with a kite soaring above! You will find kites on sale at every corner—large and small—or being handmade to quickly join in on the fun. Or you can help tame the larger kites whose tails can take you up into the air with it.
The Home of the Goat Race: 95th Annual Buccoo Goat and Crab Festival
Easter Monday in Mount Pleasant lends a sample of the following day, with an assortment of activities at the Mount Pleasant Recreational Grounds. Perfect for all ages, onlookers can enjoy goat races, flat races, the maypole dances, the Easter bonnet competition, and more.
The following day, dubbed Easter Tuesday, all roads lead to Buccoo for the annual Goat and Crab Race that has become synonymous with Easter on the island. This world renowned event got its start in the 1920s. At that time, horse racing occupied Easter Monday and was a sport reserved for the local gentry. Goat racing was considered as the poor man’s equivalent, so Tuesday was declared ‘Easter Tuesday’ and dedicated to the racing of goats for the entertainment of the "lower classes." Remnants of horse racing are still most present, with stables, trainers, and live commentators, except that the jockeys have to run alongside their steeds.
Today, the Festival has evolved into a family affair where generations meet through tradition and visitors can partake in the landmark event, placing bets or even jockey themselves. This year the street parade kicks off the festivities from 10:00 AM, followed by the local and international crab races, flat races, beer drinking competition, as well as live and cultural performances. Although, some goats may head in the wrong direction and some crabs would refuse to cooperate with their jockeys, it is an unforgettable experience that is a must-see in Tobago for Easter.
Parties, Car Shows and Other Events
Long weekends are synonymous with parties and events, while car shows remain a staple for Easter in Tobago. See the events happening below for more details.