Day Of The Maroons
Day of the Maroons is a public holiday that’s observed annually in Suriname on the 10th of October every year. This holiday not only commemorates the heritage of the Maroon people but also recognizes their contributions to the country. Maroons were Africans and their descendants in the Americas who had formed communities outside of slavery.
Many of them had escaped from slavery, but some of them were born free in their own communities and now call Suriname home. They’re called Maroons because many of them were intentionally marooned and/or abandoned on deserted islands or coastlines.
The History Of Day Of The Maroons
Maroons are mainly Africans and the descendants of Africans who escaped slavery to form their own communities, although some Maroons are born free in their communities. Many of these people were dumped on coastlines or on islands and that is why they’re named Maroons.
The Dutch colonized Suriname in the 17th century and then systematically began establishing plantations. Plantations dedicated to either sugar, coffee, cotton, or cocoa then exported most of their product to Holland. Over 13,000 African slaves were brought to Suriname to be used as free labor for these plantations. Some of these slaves were able to escape into the jungle and over time, these escaped slaves began to form their own communities.
On October 10th, 1760, the Maroons signed a peace treaty with the Dutch colonial authorities who then recognized them as a free people. Nowadays, the Maroon community makes up about 20% of the country’s population. And that is why in 2011, the Day of the Maroons was established on the anniversary of that original peace treaty.
Observing Day Of The Maroons
On this holiday, the Maroon community throws carnivals, festivals, and other events to celebrate their unique culture. It’s traditional to serve foods such as peanut soup, turtle, and other Maroon delicacies on this holiday.