The multivocalic rite known as Hosay in the Caribbean developed
out of earlier practices originating in Iraq and Iran which
diffused to Trinidad by way of South Asian indentured laborers
brought to the Caribbean by the British from the mid-1800s to the
early decades of the twentieth century. The rituals are important
as a Shi'i religious observance, but they also are emblems of
ethnic and national identity for Indo-Trinidadians. Frank Korom
investigates the essential role of Hosay in the performance of
multiple identities by historically and ethnographically situating
the event in Middle Eastern, South Asian, and Caribbean contexts.
Hosay Trinidad: Muharram Performances in an Indo-Caribbean
Diaspora is the first detailed historical and ethnographic
study of Islamic muharram rituals performed on the island of
Korom's central argument is that the annual rite is a polyphonic
discourse that is best understood by employing multiple levels of
interpretation. On the symbolic level the observance provides
esoteric meaning to a small community of Indo-Trinidadian Muslims.
On another level, it is perceived to be representative of
"transplanted" Indian culture as a whole. Finally, the rituals are
becoming emblematic of Trinidad's polyethnic population. Addressing
strategies used to resist integration and assimilation, Hosay
Trinidad is engaged with theories concerning the notion of
cultural creolization in the Caribbean as well as in the general
study of global diasporas.
Table of Contents
You are viewing the table of contents
You do not have access to this
on JSTOR. Try logging in through your institution for access.