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!

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BK says:
October 28, 2008, 12:33 pm
I'm not from trinidad.. but from st. kitts but I went home with a friend of mine back in 92 for this celebration.. so what we missed a few classes LOL.. I thought it was truly an amazing experience and the fact I had so much roti and curry and dahl (my favorite) was an even bigger plus.. I learned more about her and her family!!! Thanks for this reminder.. I will now call her.. :)
Brandi says:
October 28, 2008, 3:52 pm
Do tell me more about that Hindu Festival...sound interesting!!! Brandi
Olivia says:
October 28, 2008, 4:02 pm
My good friend is from Trinidad and she would talk about divali and the excitement everyone felt and she showed me some pictures, it really must be some sight, I'd love to watch first hand one day :o)
E-Fresh says:
October 28, 2008, 4:46 pm
"I love living in America, but on days like this I miss the multiculturalism of Trinidad. Black, white, Chinese, Indian" Um,you realize you live in Miami, right? One of the most diverse cities in the US.
TJ says:
October 28, 2008, 5:59 pm
My husband is Indian, so we have lights and stuff everywhere. My kids love getting Diwali presents, too.
Tracy says:
October 28, 2008, 6:04 pm
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! Im 26yrs old and moved to the US at the age of 12 from Trinidad. I am not Indian, however my family and friends celebrated with the Indians during this festival of lights. Thank you for posting this, it's so nostalgic, this brings back alot of memories. It has surely made my day. Thank YOU!!!!!
E-Fresh says:
October 28, 2008, 7:22 pm
Alright, just got around to scoping out the video. Seems like an awesome celebration. Maybe you and your fam can show me around Trinidad some day : )
nehanda says:
October 28, 2008, 8:46 pm
i miss diwali. right next to eid! it was until coming to the usa, did i realize how multi-cultural kenya is and how utterly grateful i am. this year, i celebrated diwali with my puppies, ella and mingus. Namaste
pets says:
October 28, 2008, 9:14 pm
Shubh Divali to you & all of your readers. We ate our fill of curry, roti, basmati rice adn Indian sweets and around 6pm I lit deyas with Babybella, her Mom, Mamabella and the aunts helping me. Littlestbella looked on. Now onward to Christmas and Old Years!
bella says:
October 29, 2008, 1:25 am
E-Fresh - Miami is multiculti, but in a very specific way. IE: Latin. I've learned more about the difference and variety of South American and Spanish speaking Caribbean here, than any other culture. In Trinidad I was exposed to a much wider variety -- probably because my mother's job was in work permits for foreigners. But we all celebrate the public holidays of each religion, from Muslim to Hindu to Christian denominations like Shouter Baptist. I think that's pretty remarkable.
Jean Christopher says:
October 29, 2008, 9:47 am
I live in Nor Cal and this post has made me homesick for a bit of West Indian culture and food. I would love to have a dahlpuri right now!
Mochagold says:
October 30, 2008, 2:34 pm
Being from Guyana I can relate. And boy do I miss those days; I have been here one year less than you but it seems like forever when still have family there. And for some of us, like me, it's more about the food than anything else. But I loved the sweet meats more than anything else, since the other foods I got regularly. E-Fresh I don't think you quite get it!!!


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