THE SHAPING OF A CULTUREProduct no.: HP206
Rituals and Festivals in Trinidad compared with selected counterparts in India, 1990-2014
Trinidad and Tobago reflects the dynamic rhythm of a cosmopolitan mix of cultures where the Indo-Trinidadian contribution is significant. This has its genesis in the 19th and early 20th centuries when more than 500,000 contract workers, from various regions of India, were shipped to the Caribbean to arrest the labour crisis in these plantation economies. These Indian indentured immigrants brought their religions, languages, rituals, festivals, cultural practices and other performative traditions and planted them in its fertile soil.
The Shaping of a Culture: Rituals and Festivals in Trinidad compared with selected counterparts in India, 1990-2014 uses a multidisciplinary approach to examine the changes being simultaneously experienced within these rituals and festivals in Trinidad and their counterparts in the respective geographical areas in the ancestral country, at the turn of the 21st century. It also examines the Indo-Trinidadians’ influence on other festivals which they encountered in the local landscape.
The rituals and festivals examined are Ramleela, Divali, Christmas, Carnival, Shivaratri, Phagwa (or Holi), the observance of Muharram (or Hosay) and the Jhandi (or prayer flag) in its many manifestations and symbolic meanings. It identifies aspects of cultural persistence, assimilations, internal innovations and syncretisms taking place within these cultures. It presents for the first time, in a consolidated, integrated framework, multiple layers of fascinating images of some of these performative traditions as they contribute to the shaping of the cultural diversity of Trinbago and the Caribbean. It is a guide to understanding the ethos and collective consciousness of the Trinbagonian lifestyle and the Indo-Caribbean diaspora, now scattered across the globe.
“A work of scholarly distinction, this book sets a new benchmark in Indo-Caribbean scholarship.” Clem Seecharan, Emeritus Professor of History, London Metropolitan University
“... unique and original ... .” Bridget Brereton, Emeritus Professor of History, University of the West Indies, St Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago
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