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DIWALI SHIP OF LIGHTS: REMEMBERING THOSE WHO CAME IN SHIPS!
Design and Construction: Sidney Abdul, Custodian, Sidney Abdul, Jacob Kanner, Malcolm Hall, Chitra Singh, Philip Seecharran Victoria Bria. Music: Ryan Ali Tassa. Sponsors & Funders: Crossings Realty, Richmond Hill Economic Dev Council, NY State Council on the Arts, a state agency.
Diwali or Deepavali is a harvest festival, marking the end of the Indian lunar calendar. Falling on the darkest night of the year, Diyas (little clay bowls) are lit to welcome the Light into our homes, cities and streets to guide us through winter dark.
The Program: Saturday, October 22 from 6-10 pm: Lighting of the Ship on Liberty Avenue/133rd Street, in front of the famous Sybil’s Bakery landmark. There will also be the lighting of Liberty Avenue’s commercial district, followed by a Motorcade of Lights. Join us in celebrating Festival of Lights as a Sponsor/Patron of the Ship of Lights, a historic public artwork exhibit from October 22-26, 2011 in the heart of the largest Indo-Caribbean and South Asian Community.
Presented for the first time on American soil A JAHAJEE SHIP OF LIGHTS! A Street Sulpture (20x10ft) wrought in bamboo-bending techniques brought to Caribbean countries like Guyana, Trinidad, Suriname and Jamaica by indentured immigrants since 1838; and preserved by the folk. In NY we had to comply with safety laws so the frame is in wood in Malcolm Hall's front yard in Long Island and his neighbors came to help. Dhanyabaad! Shukran! Ashay! Thank You!
Jahajee ~ People of the Ship 1838
In the United States, Caribbean people of East Indian ancestry call themselves, Indo-Caribbean, and they continue to honor and cherish the word "jahajee" which literally translates as "people of the ship" or "ship people". In a broader context, the term "people of the ship", we can all find common identification with being brought by ships from our ancestral homes as slaves from Africa, as bound-coolies from Asia, or as refugees from Europe, fleeing hunger and starvation, war and concentration camps, political and economic chaos.
- 1938 - The Whitby, the first ship of Indentured Indians to the Americas, landed in Guyana.
- 1845 - The Maidstone, the first ship of Indentured Indians landed at Old Harbour Bay , Jamaica.
- 1845 - The Fatal Al Razak, the first ship of Indentured Indians landed in Trinidad and Tobago.
- 1873 -The Lalla Rook, the first ship of Indentured Indians landed in Suriname.