Product no.: HP206

Rituals and Festivals in Trinidad compared with selected counterparts in India, 1990-2014

Satnarine Balkaransingh

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

  • 240 x 164 mm
  • 404 pages
  • Paperback

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Customer ratings for THE SHAPING OF A CULTURE

Number of ratings: 3
Average rating: 5
Vivid Description
from on 21/01/2017
This book makes good reading for anyone who wants to understand Trinidad culture. Some of the misconceptions have been highlighted and clarified with illustrations and references. The culture has evolved and extended beyond the sugar industry to the oil and gas industry. This book can easily be a best seller because of the way it is penned. It also gives scope for Part 2, if not a volume of the evolution of a culture.
5 Stars
from on 19/01/2017
Congratulations on the publication on this informative book "The Shaping of a culture..."
From the cover I see it is an excellent book for everyone and a great gift.
It is a comparative analysis of rituals and festivals with illustrations and how these have changed over time.
Excellent - definitely 5 stars!
from on 09/12/2016
This book is exceedingly well written, with research that is illuminating.
It draws the reader into a time and place that Dr Balkaransingh has recreated for our edification.
We will never understand where and what we are today, if we do not understand from whence we came.
The Shaping of a Culture has filled a void we did not know existed.

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