Trinidad and Tobago observes MahashivaratriFebruary 21st, 2012 - 3:37 pm ICT by IANS
Port of Spain, Feb 21 (IANS) Hindus in the Caribbean island nation of Trinidad and Tobago led by Indian-origin Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar joined the rest of the Indian diaspora across the world to celebrate Mahashivaratri Monday.
The festivities began from midnight of Feb 19. Mahashivaratri this year coincided with the annual Carnival that was celebrated here Feb 20-21.
While non-Hindus opted to hit the fetes and parties, and danced to the gyrating music and songs of the steelpan, soca trucks and calypsoes, Hindus gathered in the more than 400 temples across the island to worship and conduct services to Lord Shiva.
For the past few weeks, Hindus have been abstaining from all forms of merriment, alcohol and other forms of worldly pleasures in preparation for the festival.
The prime minister, who recently returned from her trip to India, observed Mahashivaratri in her constituency Siparia.
Minister of Legal Affairs Prakash Ramadhar said the festival was an opportunity to rejuvenate oneself in an effort to enhance national development.
Minister of Finance Winston Dookeran said Mahashivaratri was observed by Hindus with an overwhelming aura of spirituality, a feature which the world urgently needs.
Mahashivaraatri is one the several religious customs which Indian migrants brought with them when they came to the Caribbean between 1845 and 1917 from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar to work on sugar and cocoa plantations.
Around 25 percent of the 1.3 million people in Trinidad and Tobago are Hindus.
(Paras Ramoutar can be contacted at email@example.com)
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