Today, Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) celebrates Indian Arrival Day. On May 30th 1845, the Fath Al Razak docked at the Port of Spain harbour in Trinidad and Tobago with 225 adult passengers on board. The passengers were immigrants from India who had come to the British colony to work on the sugarcane plantations. There were over 140,000 East Indians Immigrants listed to have arrived over a 70 year period. At least 75 percent of those who came remain and settled. They continued with their religious traditions of Hinduism and Islam, and eventually transformed Trinidad into a diverse, colorful society, with their customs, style of dress, dance, food, music, singing, and language. Descendants of these Indian immigrants, now comprise about half of the 1.3 million multi-ethnic society of the island.
Indian Arrival Day was first celebrated in Skinner Park, San Fernando, as the East Indian Centenary on May 30, 1945 which marked the hundredth anniversary of the coming of Indians to Trinidad. However, this historic day was only declare a national holiday since 1994. It was called Arrival day, however in 1995 it was renamed Indian Arrival day.
Since its establishment in Trinidad, Indian Arrival Day has given rise to similar celebrations in Guyana, Jamaica, Britain, the United States, Canada, and Australia.
The commemoration takes the form of prayers, speeches, songs, music, dances and plays in communal as well as public spaces. The spirit of the day is invoked at various beaches with the reenactment of the landing of the first boat-load of pioneers who gave birth to the Indian community in Trinidad.
As a part of the celebration also there is an annual Miss Indian Arrival Trinidad and Tobago, which is in its eight year. Twelve beautiful young women will vie for the title on Saturday at the Rudranath Capildeo Centre, Couva.
East Indians have made significant contribution to the Caribbean history and culture. Indian foods have been the most significant; Roti, dhal, doubles, sweets, curry etc. are a must have at least once per week. These dishes have become popular among the the other ethnic groups and are sold in restaurants in the Caribbean, Canada, US, and UK.
Happy Indian Arrival Day to All of Trinidad & Tobago!