In Tobago, the breakfast usually comes with the best news — Easter weekend on Tobago – which is unofficially a holiday on the island. The island is not only famous for one of the Caribbean’s biggest music festivals, Tobago Jazz Experience, which is right around the corner, but also another kind of festival which is about to happen in the seaside village of Buccoo.
Buccoo is famous for its weekly Sunday party, which last ’til the sun comes up (and participants literally did dance ’til the sun came up every time). But on the Tuesday after Easter, a different type of traditional fest takes over, attracting both tourists as well as locals from across the water in Trinidad to the village.
This event was began in 1925 by a local resident named Barbadian Samuel Callender, as entertainment form for the lower classes. Why on Tuesday? So the event would not to coincide with the horse racing event of Easter Monday, which reserved for local gentry. Today, the races, now hosted by the Buccoo Goat Race Festival Committee, are a staple. No joking around, the jockeys – young men who chase along with the goats, urging them running toward to the finish line – train along with their charges for up to three months before the actual event. Jockeys must be as fit as their animals – the goat – to be qualified for outrunning their jockey.
‘Crab and Dumpling’ is Tobago’s famous traditional food but nowadays those tasty blue crabs are serving another purpose. Crabs are tied to string held by the jockeys and urged to run toward the finish line with thin bamboo rods. Some races features a straight course. In others, a large circle is made around jockeys and their race crabs. First crab out wins with their owner walking away with the prize while the losing crabs getting curried down, being placed on a bed of dumplings. So Yum!
And when the sun comes down, visitors will join feting in Buccoo all night. So if you have time visit in Tobago, check out our rules before you hit the fete.