Thousands in Trinidad and Tobago celebrated the Janmashtami festival, joining their counterparts the world over in marking the occasion of the birth of Lord Krishna, one of Hinduism's most popular deities.
A large number of devotees thronged more than 200 temples, most managed by the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha (SDMS), on Saturday night.
During the hours preceding midnight, they meditated, chanted sacred mantras.
At the midnight hour, marking the birth of Krishna, also known as the 'blue god', devotees rocked the beautifully decorated cradle with the infant god's idol, and offered aarti, flowers, fruits and prasad.
They also gave clothings, foodstuffs and money to the poor and the needy who had queued up outside the temples.
As people of Indian origin, mostly Hindus, constitute about 40 percent of Trinidad and Tobago's population of 1.3 million, Hindu festivals are celebrated here with traditional fervour. Diwali, in fact, has been a public holiday here since 1966, just as Eid is.
Observances of all major Hindu festivals, especially those related to Krishna, Shiva, Ram, Hanuman, Lakshmi, Sarasawati and Durga hold special prominence here, as indeed in Guyana, Suriname and other parts of the Caribbean.
The Indians who came to Trinidad, Guyana, Suriname and other Caribbean islands from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar during the period from 1838 to 1845 to work on the sugar plantations brought with them their religious traditions and several religious texts including the Gita and the Ramayana.
On the occasion of Janmashtami, Swami Sant Brahmadeo Maharaj of the Peethadhis of the Brahmavidya Peetham of Varanasi in India, a regular visitor here, said: "Lord Krishna's message is transcendental and remains valid as when it was first espoused from his immortal lips more than 5,000 years ago."