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Buccoo Goat Race Festival

Date: Easter Weekend

If the run-up to the austere Roman Catholic Lenten season is Carnival in Trinidad, then it is appropriate that the celebratory end of self-denial takes place in Tobago, where Trinidadians flock on the longest weekend of the year (Good Friday, Glorious Saturday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday) for sun, sea-bathing, and the odd and enjoyable goat and crab races.

 

 

There may be no corbeaux (black vultures) on Tobago, but there are plenty of blue backed crabs. And here you’re allowed to play with your food before you eat it. In some races, the crabs are encouraged to run on a straight course  - have you ever seen a crab run? Otherwise, all the crab competitors are placed in the centre of a large circle drawn in the sand, and the first one to get out of the circle is declared the winner.

 

 

Owners run around, scream, cajole and entice the side-stepping crustaceans, but in the end, it’s the owner that takes the prize, and all competitors go into the pot. Curried crab and dumpling is just as delicious whether your crab has raced and won, or not.

 

 

Wacky companion event to the crab races are the goat races. These take considerably more preparation since goats are usually trained for months before on whatever beach or pasture might be nearby. Their jockeys run either beside or behind, holding on to or being dragged by their steeds. Spectators place their bets, and are allowed to scream their lungs out for Betty, Neddy, Goatee...


So England has Astor, we have Buccoo. The races take place in the sun, so bars, buffets and ice cream vendors do a thriving trade.
 



Where and when

 

 

Easter sports take place at community grounds over the Easter weekend. Main venue for the Goat and Crab Races is Buccoo on Easter Tuesday.