On August 31st every year, Trinidad and Tobago celebrates its National Day. It is the day on which Trinidad and Tobago marks its independence from the United Kingdom in 1962.
Brief History of Independence Day
As one of the first islands encountered by Europeans, Trinidad was one of the first islands Christopher Columbus landed on July 31st, 1498. In spite of his observations, Columbus did not make landfall on Tobago.
From that initial encounter forward, the islands have been ruled by several colonial powers, including the Spanish, French, and British, with Trinidad becoming a British crown colony in 1802. It was during the Napoleonic Wars that the British took control of Tobago and, in 1889, the two islands merged into one territory.
Between 1958 and 1962, Trinidad and Tobago were part of the West Indies Federation, until independence was achieved on August 31st, 1962.
Dr. Eric Williams, who served as this country’s first Prime Minister from 1962 until his death on March 29th, 1981, has been given the title as, ‘Father of the Nation,’ due to the prominent role he played in this country’s attainment of Independence.
How is Independence Day celebrated in Trinidad and Tobago?
Celebrations of Independence Day in Trinidad and Tobago are held in both Scarborough, Tobago, and the Queens Park Savannah in Port of Spain, the nation’s capital’s oldest recreational ground, the cultural heartbeat of the city; where the day commences with a military parade honoring those who have served their country and made significant contributions to society.
After being inspected by the President of the Republic, the military personnel; inclusive of soldiers, coast guards, police officers, fire officers, and prison officers then parade through the streets of the nation’s capital accompanied by the military bands to the sweet sounds of Traditional Trinidadian folk music called calypso is performed to entertain visitors and celebrate their heritage soca music.
The parade route is lined with hundreds of spectators, all bedecked in the national colours: red, white, and black. The parade culminates at the police barracks in St. James.
During the night, there’s a spectacular grand display of fireworks that concludes the celebrations at the Queen’s Park Savannah attracting thousands of spectators. This event is sponsored by Corporate citizens of the country.