The contemporary Caribbean society is comprised of various forms of culture and ethnic backgrounds. The main influential force behind this cultural diversification is due to slavery and Indentureship. Indentureship is the state or period of being a servant bound to service for a specified time in return for passage to a colony. The Indentureship system lasted from 1838 to 1917. This system consists of a variety of ethnic groups such as east Indians, white labourers and Chinese.
Indeed this system of indentureship did brought significant value to the Caribbean civilization. The east Indians brought along the practicing of craft, some venture into retail trade while others went into agriculture. Indian contributions to Jamaican culture are legion. Indian jewellery designs have made their mark especially in the form of intricately wrought thin, gold bangles. Indian contributions to Jamaican culture are legion. Indian jewellery designs have made their mark especially in the form of intricately wrought thin, gold bangles.
Old animosities forgotten, elements of traditional Indian dress can be found in Jonkonnu processions and many African-Jamaicans participate alongside their Indian-Jamaican brothers and sisters in the Indian inspired cultural celebrations of Hosay and Divali. The indentureship system left behind traditional Indian foods for example curry goat, roti and callaloo which most of the Caribbean countries have adopt to their national cuisine.
East Indians settled in Caribbean countries such as Trinidad, Guyana, Martinique and more places in which they played a significant role in the development of the economy. These indentured laborers had saved an ailing sugar industry, which was one of the main industries that led to the growth and development of these countries. Indians brought their firm family structure in which all relations supported each other. The idea of extended family, which included several generations, was very strong. All males over 16 years were members of a family council.
They made all decisions of the family, for example marriage, religious ceremonies and expenditure. Hindus worshipped several gods of which Brahma was the most important. He was the supreme god or creator. They believed that when people died their souls were reborn in a new body. The Hindus had very strict divisions in the society. This was known as the caste system. Each person belonged to a special group or caste. The Brahmins, or the religious leaders, were at the top of the society and the Hindus in the Caribbean continued to follow them as their leaders.