Probably the biggest loss suffered by the Trinidad Chinese occurred in the area of religion. National censuses confirm this. From them we learn that the size of the Buddhist community fluctuated over the years while the Confucian community, small in size from the very inception, experienced unrelenting diminution as the years passed. Taoism warranted only brief mention in 1946.Going back to 1891, the national census revealed there were 470 Buddhists in Trinidad, 306 of who were males and 164 females. A relevant and interesting observation of the 1891 census noted that the Christian denominations were successfully proselytizing Chinese immigrants. Figures indicated that nearly all of the Chinese immigrants had embraced Christianity. In 1901, there are 187 Buddhists on the island, in 1911 the figure increased to 428 due to the influx of another wave of Chinese immigration in Trinidad. By 1946 census records indicate the presence of 42 Buddhists, 21 Confucians (19 males and 2 females) and two Taoists. This indicates another era of conversion to Christianity had occurred.

When they left China, the immigrants left behind them at least four major religions, excluding Confucianism, which where influential at the time of their departure: Buddhism, Taoism, Islam and to a lesser extent Christianity. Notwithstanding the vestiges of Buddhism, of the Mahayana form which still constitute part of the religious practices of some home-born Chinese, it is true to say that the Chinese community as a whole has been fully integrated into two of the establish churches on Trinidad, namely the Roman Catholic and the Anglican (English Catholic). It is believed that by far the greater number worship is in the Roman Catholic Church.

Source: [Millette, Trevor “The Chinese in Trinidad” Imprint Caribbean, 1993]

Links: Chinese Creolized Religion

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