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Happy Independence Day, Trinidad and Tobago! 15 Things That are Distinctly Trinbagonian

trinidad flagToday, the twin island republic of Trinidad and Tobago turns 56. Once dubbed the “happiest people in the Caribbean,” the residents of this twin island share special traits and unique experiences that help them to identify themselves as ‘Trinbagonians’ (the term used for persons born and raised on either of the two islands). Wondering what some of these traits and experiences are? Read on to find out. 


1) You Don’t Know What the Phrase “Anytime is Trinidad Time” Means

always late

It’s a known fact that Trinbagonians have a penchant for being late, so if you’re meeting a Trinbagonian friend for breakfast and he tells you he’ll be there at 9:00 a.m., he really means 10: 30, and if he tells you he’ll be there at 10:30 a.m., tell yourself you’ll be having brunch.

2) You’ve Never Had Something for Breakfast That’s Very Bad for Your Cholesterol Levels

Debe Doubles

Doubles, saheenas, fried bakes and ‘buljol,’ ‘aloo pie’…these all perfectly compliment your morning cup-of-Joe.

3) You Don’t Have Scars on Your Body From Childhood Injuries You Sustained Mainly During the Months of July and August

children at play


Ah…those glorious ‘boy days’…don’t let the term fool you, though, as ‘boy days’ can be had by both boys and girls, and if you don’t have the scars to show for it, well…you’re just soft.

4) You Never Came Home From a Party at 5.00 a.m., Skipped Sleep, Took a Shower and Went Straight to Work

Getting Dressed quickly


Sleep is for the weak…


5) You’ve Never Left Home Telling Your Family That You’re “Just Going Down the Road to Come Back”

you won't be back

Of course, you probably meant well. You probably had every intention of just making a brief trip down the street to run an errand or visit a friend, after which you intended to make a timely return, but every Trinbagonian knows that one errand leads to another, and that no visit to a friend is ever a short one.


6) You’ve Never Gotten a Good Ass-Whooping From a Parent/Grand Parent/Guardian as a Kid

belt beating

The disciplinarian was anyone older and authorized to put a physical correcting on you, and the disciplinary weapon of choice was anything readily within reach- belts, coat hangers, hair brushes and swizzle sticks were all fair game when it came to putting the fear of God into a misbehaving youngster. (P.S. if you don’t know what a swizzle stick is, please touch the hyperlink).


7) You Don’t Own Both Stay-at-Home Clothing and ‘Going-Out’ Clothing


Every Trinbagonian has two separate compartments in his/her closet: one compartment holds clothing that he/she wears when going out for drinks/to parties or any other special occasion; the other holds clothing that he/she wouldn’t be caught dead in in public. The latter is reserved for lazy, comfortable days/nights spent indoors and away from the glaring eyes of onlookers.


8) You’ve Never Referred to the Entire United States of America as “New York”


new york

It’s not that us Trinbagonians are ignorant to the fact that America is actually made up of fifty-two states; it’s just that it’s easier for us to refer to the country in casual conversation by what we deem to be the most popular state.


9) You Don’t Listen to Soca Music


We are, after all, a people born with rhythm,  and Soca music, our signature sound, is the perfect avenue to express that inherent rhythm.


10) You Never Drank Coconut Water Straight From the Nut



Standing next to a pick-up truck loaded with young coconuts, near an open road where vehicles zoom by, is the right way to do it.


11) When You Hear the Word ‘Beer,’ the Brands Stag and Carib aren’t the First Two That Come to Mind

stag beer

For Trinbagonians, Stag beer and Carib beer are like the initiation into social drinking. These are the first tastes of alcohol most of us were introduced to. To the Carib Brewery Company, you just got yourself some free advertising. You’re welcome. 🙂


12) You Don’t Refer to Every Brand of Diaper as ‘Pampers’



I can’t explain this one, guys. It’s been that way since before I was born. *Insert shrug emoji here.*


13) You Haven’t Looked at a Pile of Mangoes and Seen Endless Possibilities


There is no limit to the creative approach Trinbagonians take to making meals and snacks out of mangoes. Mango chow, curried mangoes and preserved mangoes are just the tip of the ice berg.


14) Soup and Saturdays Aren’t Somehow Connected to Each Other in Your Mind


In almost every Trinbagonian home, a hearty bowl of soup is almost always on the table on Saturdays. So firm is the connection between soup and Saturdays in every Trinbagonian’s mind, that several local food joints cater to this tradition, making sure to include various types of soups on their Saturday menu.


15) You’ve Never Heard of/ Used the Phrase “God is a Trini”


At the risk of being struck by a lightning bolt here- this phrase emerged from the fact that Trinidad and Tobago has dodged many a bullet in the form of natural disasters (hurricanes, storms, and, most recently, a magnitude 6.9 earthquake). We’re far from perfect, but we certainly have a lot to be thankful for.

Happy Independence Day, beloved Trinidad and Tobago.


By: Danielle Dixon

Follow her on Twitter: @tooprettydani

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