With a significant portion of Trinidad’s population comprising of persons of Hindu and East Indian origin, Divali, or The Festival of Lights, is a major celebration on the island. At Divali time, you’ll find most of the population feasting on decadent East Indian and Indo-Trinidadian dishes, regardless of their own personal background; the holiday is observed by all denominations. For an outsider, the best way to experience Trinidad’s flavorful spin on the holiday is to visit one of the villages known for their elaborate light displays, such as Felicity, Patna Village, Dow Village and Penal in Central Trinidad, or the Divali Nagar (village of lights) in Chaguanas, the hub of all Divali celebrations.
For a distinctly Trini experience during the Diwali season, we recommend Ramleela, a 10-day-long outdoor theatrical spectacle that concludes with the public burning of a massive effigy, ignited by a well-aimed flaming arrow. Also known as Ramdilla, Ramleela is said to be the longest running open-air theatre in the Caribbean, brought over from India’s Bihar and Uttar Pradesh regions over 165 years ago. Today there are over 35 communities in Trinidad that stage Ramleela, and a National Ramleela Council dedicated to preserving the tradition. True to Trini form, Ramleela has evolved to include Trinidadian dialect, jokes and political commentary.