Indian diaspora celebrates Divali Nagar festival in Trinidad and Tobago

Indian diaspora celebrates Divali Nagar festival in Trinidad and Tobago (Photo: Twitter) courtesy ANI

Over 200,000 people from the Indian diaspora in not just Trinidad and Tobago, but the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom are expected to throng the nine-day Divali Nagar festival at Chaguanas, Central Trinidad, that celebrates the Hindu festival of lights every year in the Caribbean islands.

Religious festivals and observances are important to the growth and sustainability of Trinidad and Tobago’s multicultural society, according to Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts, Randall Mitchell, he told the opening ceremony of the 35th annual Divali Nagar festival on Friday night.

“Without doubt. It has played a pivotal role in the acceptance of Diwali in the cultural landscape of Trinidad and Tobago, said Senator Deoroop Teemal, president of the National Council of Indian Culture(NCIC), organizers of this annual religious-cultural presentation.

Of the 1.3 million population of Trinidad and Tobago, about 40 per cent are of Indian extraction, descendants of people who were brought here by the British as indentured laborers in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

“This festival of East Indian culture showcases the rich and meaningful traditions inherent in the culture with the objectives of informing and educating the public. It highlights not only traditional folk and contemporary song, music and dance including an annual yajna, booths hosted by Hindu religious organizations and groups, and a thematic exhibition,” he stated.

He added that choosing a theme for every Divali Nagar is now a tradition and this year the theme is, “Dharti Maataa”=Mother Earth. “Hindus as well as followers of the non-Abrahamic faiths, revere the Earth as mother, and believe that as a mother, she deserves our respect, devotion and protection.

Mayor Mohammed pointed out that the NCIC, through the Divali Nagar festival, “brought cultural traditions of our ancestors, allowing our multi-cultural and multi-religious and multi-ethnic society to embrace Divali and what it represents as a national festival.”

(The author is a Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago-based journalist. He can be contacted at

(Reprinted under agreement with South Asia Monitor)



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