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Tobago Celebrates ancestry during annual Heritage Festival

Home to a culturally rich community, Tobago will celebrate its ancestry during the annual Tobago Heritage Festival July 15 – August 1, 2005.

Themed “Our Heritage: Then, Now and Beyond,” the festival is designed to ensure the preservation of Tobago’s African traditions. Tobago, originally inhabited by the Amerindians, became a settling point for many African slaves who journeyed The Middle Passage, the crossing of slave trading ships from the west coast of Africa.

First celebrated in 1987, the annual two-week festival is a time when the villages of Tobago come alive with song, dance, drama, music and oral traditions. During this time cultural icons such as Dr. J.D. Elder, anthropologist, and Mr. Stanley Baird, environmentalist, are remembered for their vision and foresight.

Commencing with an opening night gala at the centrally located cultural complex, all areas of the island contribute to the festive event by hosting musical, dramatic or oral productions. For example, Patience Hill hosts a Festival of Dance with an array of beautiful costumes while Moriah comes alive with the sounds of the fiddle and tambourine during the Ole Time Wedding, a matrimonial ceremony that is followed by a colorful procession of the wedding party and guests through the streets on the way to the reception.

For more information on the Tobago Heritage Festival visit www.tobago- heritage.net.

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