Customs and Beliefs

Customs and beliefs were present on the plantations as the labourers brought these attributes with them from India. These people strongly believed in their religion and they believed in their religious books as well as it thought them the ways of the lord and what God expected of them. Some of the religious novels they brought from India included that Mahabharat, The Bhagavata Gita, Ramayan the Vedas and the Shiv Puranas. They also believed in their holy plant, the Tulsie plant, as Hindus believe that the plant is a reincarnation of the Lord Vishnu, a Hindu God. It is also believed that when the Tulsie plant is present all illnesses, fear, evil and misery will be cast away hence the reason why the Indians brought it with them as it was one of their strong beliefs.


The belief of men being the breed winners of the family and women being housewives and young girls not gaining an education but helping in the household was a custom and a belief in which the immigrants implemented on life after slavery. In India it is believed that the woman’s role should be to cook, clean and take care of the family and only the men should work and provide for his family and only boys should be educated as well and this existed in society.

Marriage was one of the Indentured Labourers major custom as in India, age was not an issue when it came to marriage. Family’s got boys and girls married from the early ages of 10 and this was because early marriages helped to ease fears of girls getting raped and of boys running away from the home because of the working and living conditions on the plantations. The wedding ceremony took place over a three day period and the ceremony was performed by the Brahmins or pundits. Another custom that was brought by the indentured labourers was the ceremony in which took place when a baby was born and this ceremony were known as the Chathy and it celebrated the new life brought into the world. A third custom in which the Indians brought with them was the Ramayan Katha readings in which they did on Sunday mornings. As they were not granted the Hindu Temple to be present on the plantations, the Brahmins gathered the immigrants in groups and here they read the Ramayan, Vedas and the Shiv Puranas scriptures to immigrants to keep the custom and religion alive. Festivals was another custom in which the Indians brought with them and these included Divali, Phagwa, Shiv Raatri, Karthik and Ram Leela. They were not celebrate in grand style due to restrictions, however they did come together an observed these festivals amongst themselves. Lastly, the way in which the Indians performed funerals was another custom and belief in which the believed in. Although this was not performed on the plantations, after they settled in Trinidad, burial was no longer the only way of getting rid of the body. In the Hindu scriptures they speak of the purpose of Hindu cremations near a river bank and the necessary rituals which should be performed and all this was done as the believed this was the way to god and the soul never dies.


Next Page – Life after Indentureship

Copyright © 2014 Reshma Ganness





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