Indian Arrival Day commemorates the arrival of the first Indian Indentured labourers from India to Trinidad, in May1845, on the ship Fatel Razack. While this momentous event has been celebrated among the East Indian community in Trinidad and Tobago for many years, it was only in 1994 that it was made an official public holiday. It was called Arrival Day. In 1995 it was re-named Indian Arrival Day.
Indian Immigration to Trinidad spanned the period 1845-1917. During this period over 140,000 Indians were transported to the island. The journey was long and arduous and living conditions were deplorable. The Indians were subjected to abuse, poor food, and dangerous weather conditions. Nevertheless these adverse conditions enabled them to form a bond which overcame their differences of language, caste and regionalism.
After disembarking at Nelson Island, the arrivals were fed and rested for a couple weeks and then sent to the various estates that had requested them previously.
When the Fatel Razack sailed into the Gulf of Paria in 1845, it brought not only a new labour force, but also a new culture, because the Indians brought with them their food, dress, language, music, dance, religion and customs.
Buss-up-shut (paratha), dhal and pumpkin (photograph Vegan in the Sun)
Shiv Shakti Dancers (photo Newsday Newspapers)
Temple in the Sea at Waterloo
Karya Siddhi Hanuman Temple
Divali in Felicity, Trinidad
The Fatel Razack brought not only a new labour force to assist in the economic development of Trinidad, but also a new people with a new culture. Indian Arrival Day commemorates this momentous occasion and the event is celebrated by staging a re-enactment of the arrival of the Fatel Razack at various beaches, as well as with music and dance ceremonies. Outstanding members of the community are also honoured for their contributions to society.Source:
NCIC. Conference on "Challenge and Change: the Indian Diaspora in its Historical and Contemporary Contexts" Commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the Arrival of Indian Indentured Labourers in Trinidad. August 11-18, 1995.
For those who are interested in reading more, I wrote a more detailed blog on Indian Arrival Day last year which you can find here.