May 30 is a national holiday in Trinidad. In 1945, the 100th anniversary of the arrival of indentured servants from India aboard the Fath al Razak was celebrated as Indian Immigration Day. In the 1970s, smaller annual celebrations were often held in heavily Indian neighborhoods. PM, Patrick Manning declared it a national holiday in 1994. From 1847-1917, over 140,000 Indians came to Trinidad with the promise that after 5-7 years they could receive passage back to India.
Those who remained on the island and their descendants have made an indelible mark on the culture of Trinidad. Indian foods are commonly enjoyed by Trinis of all backgrounds. Indian textiles are widely available. Programs featuring classical dance and music and schools teaching these arts are common. There are many Hindu temples on the island and the larger ones often offer Hindi (Bhojpuri) classes. Occaissionally you may hear the Bhojpuri dialect spoken by the older generation. Even among non-Hindu speakers and non Indians, many Trinis use idioms with a distinct Indian bent to them. Chutney music is played openly alongside calypso and soca. Divali, Hosay, Eid-al Fitr, and Phagwah
are all national holidays, just as Christmas and Easter are. Remember, I tell yuh...a Trini does look for any chance to have a fete (party)?
Indians have held the highest office in Trinidad. Basdeo Panday was PM and Noor Hassanali held the post of President. Even in California, Mervyn Dymally, an Indo-Trini, was a State Assemblyman, US Congressman, and former Lieutentant Governor. Nobel Prize winning author, V.S. Naipaul, is perhaps the most famous Indo-Trinidadian.
Happy Arrival Day!