All together T & T has 14 holidays each year. Christian holidays include Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year's Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday and Corpus Christi. Christmas is not a one-day holiday in T & T. It is a season in which Christians and non-Christians participate. People go to parties before Christmas Day, then celebrate until New Year's Day. Recently, a new Christian holiday has been added, Spiritual Baptist Day.

The Hindu festival of lights, Diwali, is usually celebrated in November. Hindu friends and family gather to celebrate Diwali, sharing special vegetarian meals and Indian sweets made with milk, butter and flour.

Muslims celebrate Eid-al-Fitr, the traditional feast after fasting. Muslims and non-Muslims visit each other, exchange gifts and enjoy food. It also marks the start of the Islamic New Year.

Other holidays have political origins. Labour Day is celebrated on June 19. Emancipation Day on August 1, celebrates the emancipation of slaves. Independence Day celebrates Trinidad's independence from Britain on August 31, 1962. Arrival Day which originally commemorated the arrival of the East Indians, now includes all people and is observed on May 30.

Did you know?

Carnival originated in the 1700s. The French planters started a series of balls. These were transformed by emancipated Africans into a street party celebrating freedom and mocking the French high society.

Carnival Monday and Carnival Tuesday are celebrated just before Ash Wednesday. These two days are still official working days for government employees, but only the very essential services are provided.

In addition to these national holidays, T & T has a number of other festivals. One of the most popular of these is Hosay, originally a Muslim mourning festival. It is now more of a joyous multi-ethnic event. Another, Hindu holiday is the spring festival, Phagwa. Ram Leela is the Hindu celebration of their hero Ram. The Tobago Heritage Festival hosts displays of folk traditions.