By Pashchiema Bhatia
Indian Arrival Day is celebrated for remembering the days on which the Indians first wave arrived on the land of other countries. It is celebrated on various days in the nations of Caribbean, in the Latin-American nations and also in Mauritius. The people of Indian origin who migrated to these countries were mainly brought as indentured laborers by British colonial authorities. These days are not only celebrated as holidays but also various cultural events are held by people of Indian origin. These are the countries where these days are celebrated with great enthusiasm –
Indian Arrival Day is celebrated on May 10 in Jamaica which coincides with Mothers’ Day and is carved in the hearts of Indo-Jamaicans. They also celebrate this day as ‘Roti Festival’ or the ‘Indian Heritage Day’. Jamaica is a country which is ranked high in terms of preserving the Indian culture.
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The indentured laborers landed the nation on May 8, 1838 to work in Sugar plantations. The holiday in the commemoration of first arrival of Indians is celebrated on May 5 as Indian Arrival Day. Today, around 44% of Guyana population is of Indian origin.
Trinidad and Tobago
The ship named ‘Fatel Razak’ not only brought indentured laborers but also a group of people with different culture which further integrated. In 1994, 30 May was declared an official holiday and was celebrated as Arrival Day which was later renamed Indian Arrival Day. On this day, every year, people gather on various beaches throughout Trinidad and Tobago and celebrate this event with music and dance.
On 5 June 1873, the first ship named ‘Lala Rookh’ arrived in Paramaribo, capital of Suriname carrying 452 Indians. On this day, June 5, Suriname commemorates the arrival of Indians and the migrated Indians pay tribute to statue of Indian ancestors ‘Baba en Mai’ (Father and mother) which is located at the place where the Indians first arrived.
Mauritius is sometimes also referred as Chota Bharat (mini India). More than 60% population of Mauritius is of Indian origin and they celebrate this day on a large scale on November 2. Apravasi Ghat is the center of celebration as it signifies the struggles faced by the Indian ancestors after they arrived.
Pashchiema is an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: @pashchiema