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Suriname Celebrates its Independence

Independence Day is a public holiday in Suriname.

Independence Day: November 25

Independence Day is a public holiday in Suriname.

Suriname celebrates Independence Day on November 25, remembering the day in 1975 when Suriname was granted full independence from the Netherlands.

History of Independence Day in Suriname

By the 17th century, Suriname was mainly occupied by plantation colonies from the British and the Dutch, taking advantage of the fertile Guyana plains. Some disputes arose between the colonizing nations, and in 1667, there was an agreement between the two. The Dutch kept the plantation colony of Suriname, and the English were left with New Amsterdam, now known as New York City.

The Dutch planters had hundreds of slaves that did all the work in the plantations of coffee, cocoa, sugar cane, and cotton. Due to bad treatment, some of the slaves conspired to escape, and after they escaped, those slaves joined together in the rain forests for protection. They were called Bosnegers (bush Negroes) by the Dutch or Maroons by the British. The Maroons would frequently raid the plantations to free other slaves, rescue women, and gather guns, food and other supplies. They would frequently kill the plantation owners and their families in the process.

Slavery was abolished in 1863; however, the slaves were given a mandatory 10 years of work on the plantations in exchange for minimal pay. By 1873, the slaves abandoned the plantations, and the Dutch brought into Suriname new workers from Indonesia, India, China, and the Middle East. This made Suriname one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse countries in the world.

In 1954 Suriname transitioned to a system of limited self-governance with the Netherlands in control of defense and foreign affairs. In 1973, the NPK, a leading government party, opened negotiations that culminated with full independence for Suriname in November 25, 1975. The Dutch government in the following decades aided Suriname and its economy, receiving much of the population of Suriname that wanted to leave the country.

Suriname’s Independence Day Traditions, Customs and Activities

The celebrations of independence in Suriname are mainly held in the Paramaribo Presidential Palace, a grand colonial era building fronted by the Independence Square. The Palace is open during the day for visitors, and the president addresses Suriname with a speech. Police officers and soldiers parade in front of the palace, and the parades are followed by the presidential reception, open to guests. On the streets, colorful flags are raised on public buildings and private houses.

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