Multicultural Wedding Spotlight: India meets Jamaica

If you’re in an interracial/interethnic relationship, there’s no escaping the multicultural experience. It’s all around you and in YOU! Having exposure to different cultures is an extremely fun learning experience; what would the world be like if we all did things the same?!

As part of our KolorBlind showcase, we plan on highlighting weddings from different cultures to show readers what it’s like in another part of the world. The picturesque Grand Palladium Jamaica Resort & Spa in LuceaMontego Bay was the destination venue for the fabulous 3-day Indo-Jamaican wedding of Alima & Akil, and this is the wedding we are reviewing today.

History of Indo-Jamaicans

Indo-Jamaicans or Indian Jamaicans, are primarily the descendents of indentured workers of India who are citizens or nationals of Jamaica. Indians form the third largest racial group in Jamaica after the Chinese, Africans and Jamaicans of mixed African and European ancestry.

The first ship carrying workers from India, the “Maidstone”, landed at Old Harbour Bay in 1845. It bore 200 men, 28 women under 30 years old and 33 children under 12 years old from various towns and villages in Northern India.

The numbers arriving increased to 2,439 three years later, at which point the Indian Government halted the scheme to examine its working. The program resumed in 1859 and continued until the outbreak of World War I, although by the 1870s stories of the hardships suffered by Indian indentured workers were causing disquiet on the sub continent.

Indian indentureship ended in 1917 to the Caribbean (Jamaica, Trinidad, St. Vincent, St. Lucia, Grenada, St. Kitts, St. Croix, Guadeloupe, Martinique, British Guiana (now Guyana), Dutch Guiana (now Surinam, French Guiana and Belize).


Although most of the workers originally planned to return to India, the planters lobbied the Government to allow them to stay and defray their settlement costs, largely to save on the costs of returning them to the sub continent. Money and land were used as incentives, with time expired Indians offered 10 or 12 acres (49,000 m2) of Crown land.

Indians have made many contributions to the Jamaican culture in the form of Indian jewelry, intricately wrought gold bangles and more are common in Jamaica, with their manufactur and sale going back to the 1860s.

Forms of  native Indian dresses were adopted by some Jamaicans and can be seen in Jonkonnu processions. Many Christian African-Jamaicans participate alongside Indian-Jamaicans in the Indian inspired cultural celebrations of (Shia Muslims) Hosay and (Hindu) Divali.

Indo-Jamaicas today

Approximately 61,500 Indians live in Jamaica today, maintaining their own cultural organizations and roots but assimilated into the wider community. Traditional Indian foods such as curry goat and roti have become part of the national cuisine and are now seen as ‘Jamaican’.

A look at Alima & Akil’s fabulous 3-day Indo-Jamaican Wedding

A traditional wedding in Jamaica typically involves the whole village or community where the couple lives in the ceremony. Relatives of the couple, along with members of the community help to prepare for the ceremony.Mehndi or henna design is an intricate artwork which comes to form a temporary skin decoration covering the bride’s feet, including the soles, and her hands and palms.

The mother-in-law must paint the first dot of ink on to the bride’s skin. The deeper the colour, the greater the love she will receive from her in-laws; a deep colour Mehndi also foretells of a happy and love filled marriage.

However brides do have alternative motives for wanting their Mehndi to last longer; the custom is that a bride must wait until her design has completely faded before performing any housework.

If the ceremony was held in a church, it is usually follows the parameters of an English wedding. The groom wears a new suit and the bride wears a white dress and veil.

For this wedding, the bride decided to incorporate Sari in a white color thereby combining Western with Eastern.

Sari, a word derived from Sanskrit meaning strip of cloth, is a long, rectangular piece of fabric that can be as long as 9 meters. The cloth drapes over the body in various ways, and women wear it with a choli or ravika, the blouse, and a skirt or petticoat for the bottom. 

{THE WEDDING CEREMONY – DAY 2} The bride’s family are helping the bride get dressed for her special ceremony.

The bride showing off her beautiful henna design. Popular Mehndi designs include the peacock, the national bird of India, an elephant with a raised trunk which is a symbol of good luck and the lotus flower which signifies purity.

It is also customary to have the bride and grooms names concealed amongst the design, the groom must find both names before the wedding night can begin.

The groom’s stylish sherwani is being showcased here. Sherwani’s are the most trendy wedding attire of groom and may be of knee length or longer.

The traditional Indian Sherwani signifies elegance and style. Colorful Shervanis ranging from few thousand to lakhs are perfect to add glitter on groom’s personality. Sherwani is native to Punjabi and North Indian weddings.

While today’s modern couples often seek the assistance of wedding consultants or planners, once upon a time the responsibility for planning fell naturally to those who lived nearby and knew the couple.

The elaborate preparations for the ceremony includes cooking great amounts of food for the reception and the baking of several cakes.

On the wedding day, the cakes are carried to the wedding location by a procession of married women wearing white dresses and head-ties.

No one speaks during this solemn procession, and the cakes themselves are covered by white lace so that the bride will not see them until the day of the wedding.



Traditional Jamaican dancers entertaining the wedding guests.

The couple’s first dance as husband and wife.

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Credit: Chris Joriann Photography


15 thoughts on “Multicultural Wedding Spotlight: India meets Jamaica

  1. Beautiful is an understatement…this is divine. I love everything from the location, clothes to the history provided on Indo-Jamaicans. I learn so much from this website.

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  4. You are right about the history of Indo-Jamaicans. We share a very unique heritage and it’s wonderful. Thanks for showcasing our culture.

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