Here in Trinidad and Tobago, Indian Arrival Day is celebrated on May 30th every year and, as of 1994, is a public holiday. Before I get into the story behind the celebration itself, I must bring to the forefront that Trinidad and Tobago is a small twin island that contains a great multicultural mix. And as our anthem declares,
Here every creed and race find an equal place….
Of course it isn’t always perfect but there is much more unity among the races than a lot of countries out here.
On this day, we commemorate the arrival of the first East Indian indentured laborers in May 1845 on the Fatel Razack. Journeying from India to Trinidad, they were brought as labor force for economic development. (Sugar plantations were numerous as sugar was the main trade.)
At first this day was celebrated only among the East Indian community but over time it became a general celebration for everyone. I want to believe that we embrace all the cultures present on our little twin island, at least the majority of us.
On this day there are re-enactments of the arrival of the Fatel Razack at various beaches throughout the islands along with music and dance and the honoring of outstanding members in the communities for their contributions.
Numerous are the things they brought that we all love. These include, FOOD!! Curry dishes, roti, different fruits and vegetables and tasty sweets! Their traditional dishes, seasoning and cooking methods plus beautiful spices!
Then there’s the celebrations like Divali, music like chutney (from which a fusion was made to form Chutney soca!) and their musical instruments like the sitar and popular tassa drums, Indian dance, customs like Mehndi/Henna and fashion such as the sari. No matter what ethnicity you belong to, you must fall in love with at least one, if not all, of their contributions!
If it weren’t for Africans and East Indians, also the Spanish, I wouldn’t exist lol! I’m a mixture of the three and what we refer to as Dougla (dough-gla). This mix makes particular features and most evident (not to mention adorned) is my curly hair! Many of us are products of ethnic mix-ups lol Chinese, African, Spanish, East Indian, White and much more! But! We are all Trinbagonians, West Indians! And proud!
I may be late but as a True Trini I was celebrating and in holiday mode all day yesterday. Nevertheless, Happy Indian Arrival Day!! ❤