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Indo-Caribbean Americans or Indian-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 the New York metropolitan area and Florida. The Washington metropolitan area, Texas, and Minnesota also have small numbers of Indo-Guyanese and Indo-Trinidadians. Indo-Caribbean Americans are a subgroup of Indian Americans, which is a subgroup of South Asian Americans, which is a sub-group of Asian Americans.
Since the 1960s, a large Indo-Caribbean community has developed in Richmond Hill, New York, a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Queens. The Indo-Caribbean population has also grown rapidly in the Floridian cities of Tampa, Orlando (a large concentration of Indo-Caribbean Americans from New York have migrated here), Fort Myers, Naples, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Port Saint Lucie, Coral Springs, Margate, North Lauderdale (more than 1% of residents in the city were born in Trinidad and Tobago), Sunrise, Plantation, Parkland, Lauderhill, Pompano Beach, Hollywood, Cooper City, Miramar, Davie, Weston, Southwest Ranches, and Pembroke Pines. Indo-Surinamese tend to migrate to the Netherlands, but have started to settle in Florida and the New York metropolitan area in small numbers. Indo-Jamaicans also live in moderate numbers throughout the New York metropolitan area and Florida. There are also smaller numbers of Indo-Barbadians, Indo-Belizeans, Indo-French Guianese, Indo-Grenadians, Indo-Guadeloupeans, Indo-Martiniquais, Indo-Kittitian and Nevisian, Indo-Saint Lucian, Indo-Vincentian and Grenadinese in the New York metropolitan area and in Florida.
Most Indo-Caribbeans have established themselves in the workforce, contributing largely to the medical, law, engineering/technical, educational, retail, and business fields.
Majority of Indo-Caribbean Americans are followers of Hinduism, Jainism with a small minority belonging to Islam, Christianity and other religions. Major holidays such as Diwali, Phagwah, Eid, Hosay, Easter, and Christmas are celebrated with a distinct flavor unique to the Caribbean.
The Richmond Hill Phagwah Parade is the largest Holi celebration in the United States. Thousands attend the parade annually each Spring in Queens, with thousands of attendees crowding Liberty Avenue and Smoky Oval Park.
South Florida has become a destination for roti shops, sari/Indian clothing boutiques, threading, mandirs/kovils, masjids, Indian churches, and annual Diwali, Phagwah, Navratri, Hanuman Jayanti, Maha Shivaratri, Vasant Panchami, Ram Navami, Krishna Janmastami, Kartik Purnima, Durga Puja, Guru Purnima, Ganesh Chaturthi, Pitru Paksha, Chhath Puja, Dussehra, Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha, Ramadan, Hosay, Islamic New Year, All Saints' Day, All Souls' Day, Corpus Christi, Epiphany, Lent, Christmas, and Easter religious events. It is also a popular spot for Indo-Caribbean artists. The Florida Melody Makers are the most well known Indo-Caribbean American band for years and continue to perform around the Southeastern US. WHSR 980 AM hosts musical programming weekly every Saturday and features community leaders like Bhagwan R. Singh, Natty Ramoutar, and Sam Subramani.
Most cultural shows continue to tie a cultural bond between the Indo-Caribbean and Indian-American communities, as well as inter-religious bonding between Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, and Jains especially those hosted at educational institutions with an Indian student association like Florida International University, Florida Atlantic University, Nova Southeastern University, and the University of Miami.
The Shiva Mandir in Oakland Park (first Hindu Mandir in South Florida, built in the 1980s by the Florida Hindu Organization led by Pt. Ramsurat K. Maharaj and hosts one of the largest annual Diwali shows in Florida), the Shree Saraswati Devi Mandir in Oakland Park, Krishna Mandir in Hollywood, Arya Samaj Mandir in Riverland, Shiva Lingam Mandir in Margate, Palm Beach Hindu Mandir in Loxahatchee, Shri Lakshmi Mandir in West Palm Beach, Florida Sevashram Sangha in Lake Worth, Lakshmi Narayan Mandir in Palmetto Estates, Amar Jyoti Mandir in Palmetto Bay, Sai Baba Mandir in Doral, and the Shri Mariamman Kovil in Opa-locka, are largely attended by Indo-Caribbeans. Plantation High School, a school where most Caribbeans and Asians are of Indian descent, hosted an annual Diwali show from 1993 to 2008. Starting as a one-day event in 2008 and expanding to a three-day event since 2009, the Divali Nagar USA entertains the local community with musical and religious performances, food, and vendors.
Music is a large part of the Indo-Caribbean American community, which includes the tunes of Bollywood, Carnatic music, taan music, bhajans, kirtan, quwwalis, Sufi, chutney music, lok geet, baithak gana, chutney parang, chutney soca, tassa, soca, parang, Bhangragga, bhangra, reggae, steel pan, calypso, and dancehall. Bharatnatyam and kathak are respected classical traditional dances, and bhangra fusion and dance items from Hindi films, Bhojpuri films, Tamil films, and Telugu films have grown in favor as well. With the increasing emphasis on partying, chutney music and soca music are preferred by the young crowd. (see Indo-Caribbean music)
In 2008 the nonprofit organization Jayadevi Arts Inc (JAI) was founded to preserve, present, unite, educate, and promote the arts and culture of Indo-Caribbean communities from Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Suriname, and other parts of the Caribbean living in the South Florida area. JAI works to rejuvenate Indo-Caribbean cultural and artistic life and to restore self-esteem to this new American community. Their future events are a United Phagwa Parade, preserving and promoting dying art forms, and educating the youths on Indo-Caribbean traditions and culture.
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