* Capital: Port of Spain.
* Major Towns: Arima, Point Fortin, Chaguanas
* National Flag: The national flag was designed by the Independence Committee and selected to be used as the National Flag in 1962. Its colours are Red, White and Black. Red is the colour most expressive of our country. It represents the vitality of the land and its people; it is the warmth and energy of the sun, the courage and friendliness of the people. White is the sea by which these lands are bound: the cradle of our heritage; the purity of our aspirations and the equality of all men and women under the sun. The Black represents for us the dedication of the people joined together by one strong bond. It is the colour of strength, of unity, of purpose and of the wealth of the land.Together, the colors represent earth, water and fire, which connect the nation’s people to the past present and future.
* Coat of Arms: The Coat of Arms of Trinidad and Tobago was designed by a committee formed in 1962 to select the symbols that would be representative of the people of Trinidad and Tobago. The committee included noted artist Carlyle Chang and designer George Bailey. The birds represented on the Coat of Arms are the Scarlet Ibis, the Cocrico (native to Tobago) and the Hummingbird. The three ships represent the Trinity as well as the three ships of Columbus. The three peaks were principal motifs of Trinidad’s early British colonial seals and flag-badges. They commemorated both Columbus’ decision to name Trinidad after the Blessed Trinity and the three peaks of the southern mountain range, called the “Three Sisters”.
The fruited coconut palm dates back to the great seals of British colonial Tobago in the days when the island was a separate administrative unit.
Our motto – “Together We Aspire, Together We Achieve” – speaks for itself and promotes harmony in diversity for national achievement.
* Official language(s): English, other languages include Patois (slang version of French), and Spanish.
* Ethnic groups: 40% Indian descent, 40% African descent, 20% mixed (Venezuelans, Spaniards, French Creoles, Portuguese, Chinese, Britons, Lebanese, Syrians, Caribs, Italians)
* Demonym: Trinidadian, Tobagonian
* National Birds:
* Follows the Westminster model of government and upholds the traditions of parliamentary democracy it inherited from Britain.
* Tobago has its own elected House of Assembly responsible for the administration of the island, and for the implementation of policies that are referred by Parliament.
* It is a member of the British Commonwealth.
* General elections are held at least every 5 years.
The metallic playing surface is concave with a skirt attached. The playing surface is divided into convex sections by channels, groves and/or bores. Each convex section is played by striking the pan with sticks to produce musical notes. In order to emit that orchestral sound, every group of pans needs to have a certain range. The difference is that instead of having different instruments contribute to the range of sounds, the pan is flexible enough to do it all.
* Trinidad and Tobago Carnival: The two days of Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago are not official public holidays – but they might as well be – almost everyone is out on the streets, dancing, ‘jumping up’, ‘wining down’ and basically having a ball.
Although Carnival, in the strictest sense, really comprises the Monday and Tuesday preceding Ash Wednesday, the celebrations begin right after Christmas — because nothing about Carnival is strict. Almost as soon as the holy observation of Christmas Day is over, radio stations begin to blast the newest hits of the upcoming season – the season of the flesh. As a matter of fact, this is where the term Carnival actually came from – the Latin Carne Vale or ‘farewell to the flesh’
Believe it or not, these heated celebrations were actually religious in origin – revellers were allowed to enjoy themselves one last time before facing the stringent deprivation of the Lenten season. This was how the ‘bacchanal’ started – in homage to the god Bacchus, Lord of Wine and Revelry.
In its early days, what is now a national festival was really a wild frenzy reserved for the masses – the upper classes chose not to participate, but rather to watch. These were the days where creativity sparkled, giving rise to many of our traditional Carnival characters such as Dame Lorraine (a well-endowed woman), Jab Jab (a devil-like creation that would threaten you jovially with horns and three-pronged fork), Pierrot Grenade (like a Greek chorus, commenting on topical issues in rhyme) and Midnight Robber, all of which are still popular portrayals to this day.
At this time, the steelpan was coming to the forefront as a viable musical instrument. Today, pan is not only recognised worldwide, it is mainstream locally, with thousands of us flocking to the annual Panorama competition to see if our favourite steelband will reign supreme.
Modern-day Carnival celebrations here are a lot more inclusive – beginning with J’ouvert, (taken from the French Jour Ouvert, literally meaning Open Day), heralding the start of the revelry.
There are all types of music and all types of ways to “play mas”. From traditional calypso and ex-tempo (songs made up on the spur of the moment) to popular soca beats, the rhythm of Carnival is pulsating and sweet, gently supporting you as you “chip” (dance) down the road on Carnival day.
Many popular soca bands also integrate the styles of Jamaican reggae, dancehall and dub into their compositions, and sampling of pop and hip hop hits has also been on the rise in order to bring the groove into the modern era. Even the Latin vibes find a place here and everyone feels at home!
The fun and theatrical elements of Carnival combine to make your experience one-of-a-kind – truly the greatest show on earth!
Reference : www.go.tnt.com
Copyright Trinidad and Tobago Heritage Group 2014