Hosay (originally from Husayn) is a Muslim Indo-Caribbean commemoration that is popularly observed in Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Suriname, and Jamaica. In Trinidad and Tobago, multi-colored model mausoleums or Mosque shaped model tombs known as Tadjah are used to display the symbolic part of this commemoration. They are built and paraded, then ritually taken to the sea on last day of observance, and finally discarded into the water.[1] The word 'Tadjah' derived from the Arabic word Ta'zieh and signifies different cultural meanings depending on the region, time period, occasion, and religion. In British Guiana, (now called Guyana), and Suriname, the festival was called Taziya or creolized into Tadjah in reference to these floats, argurably the most visible and decorative element of this festival.

Generally, Hosay lasts for 10 days and is observed in accordance with the Islamic lunar calendar and in line with ten days Ashura commemorated by Shia Muslims throughout the world. The last four days are the most popular as the first six days are days of fasting, prayer and building of the “Tadjahs” and “Moons”.[2][3] Although Hosay was traditionally commemorated for Husain, its celebration in recent times has adopted all types of shades and characters from other religions including Roman Catholics, Hindus and Baptists, making the modern event a mixture of different cultures and religions. The event is attended by both Muslims and non-Muslims, depicting an environment of mutual respect and tolerance. A unique design of Tadja can be found during the Hosay celebrations in Cedros, a coastal village situated in the South-Western end of Trindad, that are built in an exclusive style that is not found anywhere else in the world, in terms of the art and style of construction.[4][5] In nineteenth-century Trinidad newspapers as well as government reports called Hosay the "Coolie Carnival."[6]

Hussey, Ashura
CountryTrinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Suriname, Jamaica
A tadjah at Hosay
A tadjah at Hosay in Port of Spain during the 1950s
Tropenmuseum Royal Tropical Institute Objectnumber 60005593 Het Tadja feest van Brits-Indische Hi
Tadjah festival on a plantation in Suriname, circa 1890


The Hosay (derived from Husayn or Hussein)[7] celebration is a Caribbean manifestation of the Shia Muslim Remembrance of Muharram in Trinidad and Tobago[8] and Jamaica[9] (where is it spelled Hussay). The name Hosay comes from "Husayn" who was assassinated by yazid in Karbala. This martyrdom is commemorated in the festival. In Trinidad and Tobago it is primarily celebrated in Saint James, in northwestern Trinidad and in Cedros in southwestern Trinidad. Recently it has been revived elsewhere. In Jamaica it is celebrated throughout the island. In the past, every plantation in each parish celebrated Hosay. Today it has been called an Indian carnival and is perhaps most well known in Clarendon where it is celebrated each August. People of all religions attend the event.[10][11]

Hussay Celebration in Jamaica
A historic Ashura celebration in Jamaica, which is known locally as Hussay or Hosay.

In the 1850s, very elaborately decorated models of mosques made of paper and tinsel called "tadjahs" were carried through the streets to the accompaniment of constant drumming. Small fires were lit in the gutters beside the streets over which the drumskins were heated to tighten the skins of the tassa drums. Mock stick fights celebrate the martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali. The festival lasts three days ending with the throwing of the tadjahs into the sea at sunset on the third day. Although Hosay is a religious event for Shias, all of Trinidad's religious and ethnic communities participate in it, and it has become accepted as part of the national culture.

The Remembrance of Muharram was continued to the Caribbean by Muslim indentured labourers and other migrant laborers from India. Hindu and Muslim Indians, who emphasized their common culture and celebration over religion, namely from Indian Gujarat, Rajasthan, Bihar, Madras as well as the provinces of Oudh and City of Lucknow, are essential to this celebration. These people entered Guyana in 1838, and Trinidad after 1845, from colonial India under British auspices (see Indo-Caribbean people). The observance of Hosay in Trinidad is traced back to 1854.[12]


In the 1880s the British colonial authorities became increasingly concerned about public gatherings, and in 1884 issued an ordinance to prevent the public Hosay commemorations. Thousands of workers, who had spent the year building their tadjahs joined a Hindu named Sookhoo, in petitioning the government to allow the festival per their agreement with the Governor, who was visiting London during this episode. When all appeals were ignored by the Protector of Immigrants, through ignorance of the new July 1884 prohibition, defiance, or both, the tadjahs were taken onto the streets at the appointed time, and in order of the estates. The first estate that took its tadjah onto the street had earned that right over the past months, and in some towns, Hosay went ahead. In Port-of-Spain (St. James) the police did not interfere, but in Mon Repos, San Fernando, on Thursday, October 30, 1884, buckshot was fired into the crowds of women, children and men.. After shots were fired by the police to disperse the procession, 22 "Indians" were killed immediately. Later, 120 were found with injuries, some of whom had run into the cane fields, to hide during the police attack. That day is commonly referred to in Trinidad history as the Muhurram Massacre by Indians and as the Hosay Riots in British and colonial records.

See also


  1. ^ Hope, Green (26 March 1999), "BU prof wins mini-Oscar for film of ethnic rituals", B.U. Bridge Vo. II No. 28, Boston University
  2. ^ Dr. Fiazuddin, Shuayb (2015), Hosay in Trinidad and Tobago: History, Cultural Transformations, and Meanings, Lecture outreach program, JAWDA Institute Inc, in collaboration with Consulate General of Trinidad and Tobago in NewYork, pp. 1–12 PDF link [1]
  3. ^ "Festivals and Holidays". Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. Retrieved January 6, 2017.
  4. ^ "Hosay in Cedros". Trinidad Express News Paper. March 15, 2015. Retrieved January 6, 2017.
  5. ^ Jevan Soyer (2016). "Hosay in St. James – then and now". Sweet TnT Magazine. Retrieved January 6, 2017.
  6. ^ Specifically, Trinidad Sentinel 6 August 1857. Also, Original Correspondence of the British Colonial Office in London (C.O. 884/4, Hamilton Report into the Carnival Riots, p.18
  7. ^ Ronald C. Emrit. "Hosay (Hussain)". Cultural and Sports History of Trinidad & Tobago. Retrieved January 6, 2017.
  8. ^ Korom, Frank J. (2003). Hosay Trinidad: Muharram Performances in an Indo-Caribbean Diaspora. University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia. ISBN 0-8122-3683-1.
  9. ^ Shankar, Guha (2003) Imagining India(ns): Cultural Performances and Diaspora Politics in Jamaica. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Texas, Austin pdf
  10. ^ "Hosay Festival, Westmoreland, Jamaica".
  11. ^ "Out Of Many Cultures The People Who Came The Arrival Of The Indians".
  12. ^ Dr Kumar Mahabir (May 29, 2012). "Indian arrival and survival". Trinidad Express Newspapers. Retrieved January 7, 2017.


  • Mendes, John. 1986. Cote ce Cote la: Trinidad & Tobago Dictionary. Arima, Trinidad.

External links

Architect of Victory

"Architect of Victory" is a concert march composed by James L. Hosay in 1994 as a tribute to United States Army General Gordon Russell Sullivan for performance on the occasion of his retirement as Chief of Staff of the United States Army. At the time Hosay composed the march, he was a member of the United States Army Band.


Yom Ashura or Ashura (Arabic: عاشوراء‎, romanized: ʻĀshūrā’ [ʕaːʃuːˈraːʔ]) is the tenth day of Muharram, the first month in the Islamic calendar. It marks the day that Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, was martyred in the Battle of Karbala. Ashura is a major holiday and occasion for pilgrimage and fasting in Shia Islam, as well as a recommended but non-obligatory day of fasting in Sunni Islam. Ashura has origins in Yom Kippur from Judaism.Ashura marks the climax of the Remembrance of Muharram, the annual commemoration of the death of Husayn and his family and supporters at the Battle of Karbala on 10 Muharram in the year 61 AH (in AHt: October 10, 680 CE). Mourning for the incident began almost immediately after the battle. Popular elegies were written by poets to commemorate the Battle of Karbala during the Umayyad and Abbasid era, and the earliest public mourning rituals occurred in 963 CE during the Buyid dynasty.

In Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Bahrain and Pakistan Ashura has become a national holiday, and many ethnic and religious communities participate in it.For Sunni Muslims, Ashura also marks the day that Moses and the Israelites were saved from Pharaoh by God creating a path in the Sea or Noah leaving the Ark.

Culture of Trinidad and Tobago

The culture of Trinidad and Tobago reflects the influence of European, African, Indian, Spanish (Hispanic or Latino), Arab, cultures. The histories of Trinidad and Tobago are different. There are differences in the cultural influences which have shaped each island. Trinidad and Tobago is an English-speaking country with strong links to the United Kingdom.

Historical membership in the British Empire left a major influence on the country, including the differences of the English language and the popularity of the two top sports in the country, football, and cricket.

Hosay massacre

The Hosay massacre (also known as the Hosay riots or the Jahaji massacre) took place on 30 October 1884 in San Fernando, Trinidad when the British colonial authorities fired on participants in the annual Hosay procession (the local name for the Shi'a Festival of Muharram) who had been banned from entering the town.

Indo-Caribbean Americans

Indo-Caribbean Americans are Americans who trace their ancestry ultimately to India, though whose recent ancestors lived in the Caribbean, where they began migrating in 1838 as indentured laborers. There are large groups of Indo-Trinidadians, Indo-Guyanese, Indo-Surinamese, and Indo-Jamaicans in the United States, especially in New York and Florida. The Washington metropolitan area, Texas, and Minnesota also have small numbers of Indo-Guyanese and Indo-Trinidadians.

Islam in Trinidad and Tobago

Muslims constitute 5 percent of the population of Trinidad and Tobago, representing 102,421 individuals. The majority live in Trinidad but there are a handful in Tobago as well.

Jacen Tan

Jacen Tan is a Singaporean independent film director, and has been named by The Straits Times Life! as one of Singapore's "most exciting young talents" and “Singapore’s latest film funnyman”.

Jacen’s first short film, Tak Giu (Kick Ball), became a viral hit on the Internet in 2005, with over 100,000 views. It was spread by e-mail in the pre-YouTube days, and overwhelming traffic caused the servers to crash. Many fans offering to host the 42mb video file on their servers, and it became 'Singapore's first viral short film'.Popularising the local slang “Hosay” (“Great!”) has helped Tan stand out as a filmmaker who has embraced being Singaporean by touching on topics close to the hearts of the people. 8 Days magazine refers to Jacen’s films as having “more Singaporean flavour than a pot of curry.”

In 2011, Jacen released Hosaywood, a DVD compilation of his short films.

Jacen's latest short documentary, Homeground, was awarded for the POSB Storytellers Grant in 2015.

Jacen also served as assistant director on Han Yew Kwang’s comedy hit, Rubbers.

He will release his first feature film, Zombiepura in 2018.

List of visual anthropology films

This is a chronologic list of representative anthropologically-minded films and filmmakers:Alfred C. Haddon – UK

Torres Strait Expedition, 1898

Edward S. Curtis – US

In the Land of the Head Hunters, 1916

Percy Powell-Cotton - UK

Crafts in the Cameroons, 1931

Gorilla Drive, Cameroons, 1931

Osonigbe Juju House and Benin Brass Cutting, 1931

Robert J. Flaherty – US

Nanook of the North, 1922

Moana, 1926

Tabu, 1931

Man of Aran, 1934

Louisiana Story, 1948

José Leitão de Barros – Portugal

Maria do Mar, 1930

Ala-Arriba! (film), 1942

Jean Epstein – Poland

L'or des mers (The ocean's gold), 1932

Diana and Antoinette Powell-Cotton - UK

Angola: Dombondola Potter, 1936

Angola: Scenes from a household (Dombondola), 1936

Jean Rouch – France

Les Maîtres Fous (The Mad Masters), 1954

Moi, un noir, 1958

Chronique d’un été (Chronicle of a Summer), 1961

Jaguar (Jean Rouch film), 1954 – 1967

Petit à petit, 1972

Lionel Rogosin – US

On the Bowery, 1957

Come Back, Africa, 1957

John Marshall – US

The Hunters (1957 film), 1957

N!ai: The Story of a !Kung Woman, 1980

A Kalahari Family, 1951 – 2000

António Campos – Portugal

A Almadraba atuneira (Tuna net), 1961

Vilarinho das Furnas, 1971

Histórias selvagens (Savage stories), 1978

Falamos de Rio de Onor (Let’s talk about Rio de Onor)

Gente da Praia da Vieira (The people of Praia da Vieira), 1976

Terra fria (Cold land), 1992

Manoel de Oliveira – Portugal

Acto da Primavera (Act of Spring), 1963

Michel Brault – Canada

Pour la suite du monde, (Of Whales, the Moon and Men), 1963

Les Ordres (Orderers) 1975

Les Noces de papier (Paper wedings), 1990

Pierre Perrault – Canada

Pour la suite du monde (Of Whales, the Moon and Men, 1963

Robert Gardner – US

Dead Birds, 1964

The Nuer, 1970

Rivers of Sand, 1975

Sons of Shiva, 1985

Forest of Bliss, 1986

David MacDougall and Judith MacDougall – Australia

To Live with Herds, 1968/1972

Nawi, 1968/1970

The Wedding Camels, 1974/1977

Lorang's Way, 1974/1979

A Wife among Wives, 1974/1981

Three Horsemen, 1978/1982

Stockman's Strategy, 1982/1984

Collum Calling Canberra, 1982/1984

Doon School Chronicles,1997-1998/2000

Diyas, 1997/2000

Tim Asch – US

The Feast, 1969

Yanomamo: A Multidisciplinary Study, 1971

Magical Death, 1974

The Ax Fight, 1975

A Man Called "Bee": Studying the Yanomamo, 1975

A Balinese Trance Seance, 1979

Jero on Jero: A Balinese Trance Seance Observed, 1980

Jero Tapakan: Stories From the Life of a Balinese Healer, 1983

The Medium is the Masseuse: A Balinese Massage, 1983

The Water of Words: A Cultural Ecology of an Eastern Indonesian Island, 1983

Spear and Sword: a Ceremonial Payment of Bridewealth, 1989

Releasing the Spirits, 1990

A Celebration of Origins, 1992

António Reis and Margarida Cordeiro – Portugal

Trás-os-Montes, 1976

Ana (film), 1984

Noémia Delgado – Portugal

Máscaras (Masks), 1976

Bob Connolly and Robin Anderson

First Contact, 1983

Joe Leahy’s Neighbors, 1988

Black Harvest, 1991

Dennis O'Rourke – Australia

Yumi Yet – Independence for Papua New Guinea, 1976

Ileksen – Politics in Papua New Guinea, 1978

Yap ... How Did you Know We’d Like TV, 1980

The Shark Callers of Kontu, 1982

Couldn’t Be Fairer, 1984

Half Life: A Parable for the Nuclear Age, 1985

Cannibal Tours, 1988

The Good Woman of Bangkok, 1991

Cunnamulla, 2000

Land Mines -- A Love Story, 2004

John Melville Bishop - US

Rhesus Play, 1977

YoYo Man, 1978

The Land Where The Blues Began, 1979

New England Fiddles & New England Dances, 1983

The Last Window, 1987

Himalayan Herders, 1997

Hosay Trinidad (1999)

Oh What A Blow That Phantom Gave Me, 2003, (with Harald E.L. Prins)

Oss Tales, 2007

John Bishop Short Films, (14 films 1975-2007)

Pedro Costa – Portugal

Casa de Lava (Down to Earth), 1994

Ossos (Bones), 1997

No Quarto da Vanda (In Vanda’s room), 2000

Juventude em Marcha (Colossal youth), 2006

Flora Gomes – Guiné-Bissau

Po di Sangui, 1996

Nha Fala, 2002

Fernando Meirelles – Brazil

Cidade de Deus, (City of God), 2002

Randy Olson

Flock of Dodos, 2006

Oh, What a Blow that Phantom Gave Me! 2003 (with John Bishop)

Harjant Gill - US / India

Milind Soman Made Me Gay, 2007

Roots of Love, 2011

Mardistan/Macholand, 2014

Sent Away Boys, 2016

Robert Lemelson – US

40 Years of Silence: An Indonesian Tragedy, 2009

Afflictions: Culture and Mental Health in Indonesia Film Series, 2010 / 2011

Shadows and Illuminations, 2010

Family Victim, 2010

The Bird Dancer, 2010

Kites and Monsters, 2011

Memory of My Face, 2011

Ritual Burdens, 2011

Jathilan: Trance and Possession in Java, 2011

Ngaben: Emotion and Restraint in a Balinese Heart, 2012

Standing on the Edge of a Thorn, 2012

List of wars involving Trinidad and Tobago

This is a list of wars and conflicts involving Trinidad and Tobago.


The Tenth day of Muharram is known as the Day of Ashura. Sometimes, as part of the Mourning of Muharram Shia Muslims practice faka (partial fasting) and Sunni Muslims practice fasting on Ashura.

Shia Muslims mourn the death of Ḥusayn ibn ʿAlī and his family, honoring the martyrs by prayer and abstinence from joyous events. Shia Muslims do not fast on the 10th of Muharram, but some will not eat or drink until Zawal (afternoon) to show their sympathy with Husayn. In addition there is an important ziyarat book, the Ziyarat Ashura about Husayn ibn Ali. In the Shia sect, it is popular to read this ziyarat on this date.

National symbols of Trinidad and Tobago

National symbols of Trinidad and Tobago are the symbols that are used in Trinidad and Tobago and abroad to represent the country and its people.

Prominently, the Coat of Arms of Trinidad and Tobago is a Trinbagonian symbol, and is depicted on all its money.

Saint James, Trinidad and Tobago

Saint James is a district of Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. The main road is the Western Main Road. It runs from Woodbrook to Cocorite.

Port of Spain's last major municipal expansion occurred in 1938, when the St. James district north of Woodbrook and west of St. Clair was incorporated into the city limits. In the late 19th century, Indian indentured labourers on nearby sugar estates established houses here, and St. James gradually became the centre of Port of Spain's Indian population, with many streets named after cities and districts in India. Western Main Road, the area's major thoroughfare, has long been the city's main nightlife district, sometimes nicknamed "the city that never sleeps".

Long Circular Road, which curves north from Western Main Road then east to meet Maraval Road, forms part of the city boundary. Its "circle" encloses Flagstaff Hill, a small rise with the US ambassador's residence at its summit, which lends its name to an area of apartment buildings at its southern foot.

South of St. James and near the seashore at Invaders Bay is Mucurapo, a mostly residential district which also contains the city's second-largest cemetery.

V.S. Naipaul, a winner of the Nobel Prize for literature, grew up in St. James.

Singer, songwriter and actress Nicki Minaj was born in St. James and lived there until relocating with her family to Queens, New York, United States in 1987.


Soaz or soz (Persian and Urdu: سوز) is an elegiac poem written to commemorate the honor of Husain ibn Ali and his family and Sahabah in the battle of Karbala. In its form the soaz, salam and Marsiya, with a rhyming quatrain and a couplet on a different rhyme. This form found a specially congenial soil in Lucknow (a city in Northern India), chiefly because it was the center of Shia Muslim community, which regarded it an act of piety and religious duty to eulogies and bemoan the person who killed in the battle of Karbala. The form reached its peak in the writing of Mir Babar Ali Anis. A soaz is written to commemorate the honor of Ahl al-Bayt, Imam Hussain and Battle of Karbala. The sub-parts of Marsiya can be called Noha and soz which means the lamentation and burning of (heart) respectively.

People who recite soaz are known as soazkhawan.

Social unrest in Trinidad and Tobago

Social unrest has shaped the development of Trinidad and Tobago since the middle of the 19th century. Attempts by the British colonial government to crack down on the celebration of Carnival sparked the Canboulay Riots in 1881 and 1884. Attempts to control the celebration of Hosay by the Indian population culminated in the Hosay Riots in 1884. In the early 20th century, the Water riots culminated in the destruction of the Red House [1], the seat of government, by a mob of protestors.

In response to poor working conditions and inadequate pay, the Labour riots of 1937 shook Trinidad and led to the birth of the trade union movement. Labour problems again resulted in unrest in 1965. The rise of the Black Power movement late in the 1960s culminated in the 1970 Black Power Revolution which threatened the government of Prime Minister Eric Williams. In 1975 there was labour unrest when the major unions representing oil workers and sugar workers marched in San Fernando and were met by brutal police resistance. This became known as "Bloody Tuesday". Further unrest in the 1970s had little lasting impact. The economic downturn following the end of the oil boom saw the People's National Movement losing power after 30 unbroken years in government. Austerity measures introduced by the new National Alliance for Reconstruction government led to a series of protests by labour and social groups. One of these groups, the Islamist Jamaat al Muslimeen staged an attempted coup d'état in July 1990.


Ta'zieh or Ta'zïye or Ta'zīya or Tazīa or Ta'ziyeh, (Arabic: تعزية‎, Persian: تعزیه‎, Urdu: تعزیہ‎) means comfort, condolence or expression of grief. It comes from roots aza (عزو and عزى) which means mourning.

Depending on the region, time, occasion, religion, etc. the word can signify different cultural meanings and practices:

In Persian cultural reference it is categorized as Condolence Theater or Passion Play inspired by a historical and religious event, the tragic death of Hussein, symbolizing epic spirit and resistance.

In South Asia and in the Caribbean it refers specifically to the Miniature Mausoleums (imitations of the mausolems of Karbala, generally made of coloured paper and bamboo) used in ritual processions held in the month of Muharram.Ta'zieh, primarily known from the Persian tradition, is a shi'ite Muslim ritual that reenacts the death of Hussein (the prophet Muhammad's grandson) and his male children and companions in a brutal massacre on the plains of Karbala, Iraq in the year 680 A.D. His death was the result of a power struggle in the decision of control of the Muslim community (called the caliph) after the death of the Prophet Muhammad.Today, we know of 250 Ta'zieh pieces. They were collected by an Italian ambassador to Iran, Cherulli, and added to a collection which can be found in the Vatican Library. Various other scripts can be found scattered throughout Iran.


A Tabuik is the local manifestation of the Remembrance of Muharram among the Minangkabau people in the coastal regions of West Sumatra, Indonesia, particularly in the city of Pariaman.


In Trinidad and Tobago and other parts of the Caribbean, the term "tassa" refers to a drumming ensemble drawn from an amalgamation of various of North Indian folk drumming traditions, most importantly dhol-tasha, a style that remains popular today in many parts of India and Pakistan. Beginning in the 1830s and lasting until 1918, dhol-tasha was taken around the world by Indian workers, mostly from present-day Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, enmeshed in a global scheme of indentured labor in British, French, and Dutch territories.

Trinidad and Tobago cuisine

Trinidad and Tobago cuisine reflects a blending of African-West African, Amerindian, Arab, Chinese, Creole, European, North Indian-South Asian, and Latin American-Spanish-Portuguese influences.

Western Main Road

The Western Main Road is the main road in Trinidad and Tobago that runs west from Green Corner in downtown Port of Spain, through St. James, where it is the main thoroughfare, til the Military Base in Chaguaramas.

It is most notable as the scene of the Hosay which his held annually in May or June.

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