Celebrating Divali in Trinidad
The Hindu Divali festival celebrates light over dark, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance. Celebrations of Divali – while best known in India – are also a major event in Trinidad. As the southernmost island in the Caribbean, which has one of the largest Hindu populations outside India concentrated within its 1,864 square miles of coastline and verdant interior. And so, Divali in Trinidad is a big occasion.
I was drawn to Trinidad because its locale, seven miles off the coast of Venezuela, afforded me the opportunity to experience Hindu culture and the Divali celebration on a large scale in the Western Hemisphere. Divali is observed every year over a five-day period in early autumn and coincides with the new moon, a time of deep darkness. The vibrant & colorful manifestations of Hindu culture in evidence everywhere exuded a sense of optimism and joy.
During my ten-day visit to Trinidad, I also received a warm welcome from ambassadors from many of Trinidad’s diverse and vibrant communities, including the Shouter Baptist congregation of Mount Bethel Cathedral; Amerindian shaman Adonis Christo; monks of the Monastery of Mount St. Benedict, and students Jinnah Memorial Mosque’s adjoining school, the Trinidad Muslim League.
Enjoy a glimpse of Trinidad’s diversity and what it’s like to celebrate Divali in Trinidad!