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Republic Day
Trinidad and Tobago

Republic Day 2019 and 2020

The Caribbean country of Trinidad and Tobago celebrates a national holiday every year to commemorate becoming a republic.

YearDateDayHoliday
201924 SepTueRepublic Day
202024 SepThuRepublic Day

The Spanish settled on the islands in the late 15th century. The French, Dutch and British fought over the islands for the next 300 years. Trinidad and Tobago became British colonies in the late 18th century, and they became one colony in the late 19th century.

The islands remained a British colony until 1962 when the country’s first governor was appointed. Queen Elizabeth of England was still the nominal ruler of the country. It became a republic completely independent from Britain on August 1, 1976. Republic Day is celebrated on September 24. This is the date that the country’s first Parliament met after it became a republic. Speeches, parades and other events that take place on Republic Day celebrate the country’s delight in being independent after 400 years of being ruled by European countries.

A speech by Trinidad and Tobago’s president is one of the events on Republic Day. Topics of these speeches include the country’s accomplishments such as becoming a self-governing nation and remaining a peaceful democracy. Presidents also mention how the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago should strive for excellence and take control of the country’s future. Some speeches include a brief summary of the country’s history with emphasis on its present status as a republic.

Food is an important part of Republic Day celebrations. Items that may be served include pasta, sour cream pancakes and soup. The soup is a traditional Caribbean dish called callaloo. It has leafy vegetables and okra. Some types of this soup may have crab, meat, chili peppers or coconut milk. Many families get together for meals on Republic Day. They may gather at someone’s house or go out to eat.

Restaurants that are open on the holiday serve Caribbean cuisine, seafood and steak. Caribbean dishes often served in the country include curried chickpeas, goat and roast eggplant. People who want something sweet can enjoy ice cream made with coconut and ginger. Fried balls of dough glazed with a chutney sauce made from tamarinds or mangoes are another dessert item popular in the country.

Parades to celebrate Republic Day may be held on the day itself or on the weekend before the holiday. The country’s youth organisations march in some of these parades. The Boy Scouts, the Police Youth Club and the Cadet Force are some of these organisations. The country’s young people also participate in Republic Day events at their schools the day before the holiday.

Republic Day is a public holiday, so people have time to enjoy Republic Day events or spend the day in leisure activities. Some people celebrate the day by watching horses race in the Royal Oak Derby at the Arima Race Club. A prize of over $100,000 makes this an exciting race to watch. Republic Day often falls during the country’s week-long film festival and during Trinidad’s Restaurant Week. Cycling enthusiasts can watch or take part in the Michael Phillips Republic Day Classic.

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