When I was growing up in Trinidad, I took the Hindu festival Divali for granted. I appreciated a public holiday and the opportunity to eat all the roti I wanted. But other than that, it was just another public holiday that led the way to Christmas.
Now that I’ve been living away from Trinidad for ten years, I realize what an amazing cultural experience I am missing every year. Triniview beautifully captured the Divali celebrations last year — in communities across Trinidad deyas — clay pots that are filled with coconut oil — are mounted on bamboo structures, creating a real spectacle of light that’s worth traveling through the country to see.
Divali is a magical time for kids; I remember being excited to light deyas every year. The smell, the flickering flames, the taste of curry, the sound of tassa drumming. I love living in America, but on days like this I miss the multiculturalism of Trinidad. Black, white, Chinese, Indian – everyone at home loves Divali, and it’s a wonderful day of celebration regardless of religious beliefs.
One of my favorite Trini bloggers, The Bookmann, took the beautiful photo above, and also put together a great video of last year’s celebrations in Patna Village, a community known for its ornate displays of deyas. Watch the video to see and learn more of Trinidad’s diverse culture. Thanks to The Bookmann – I am living vicariously through you!
Shubh means blessed, or lucky. And if you’re at home to celebrate, you really are lucky! I know my family and friends will be enjoying today.
Shubh Divali to all my Trinis!