Freedom Day in Suriname

Freedom Day is a holiday observed annually on the 1st of July in Suriname and commemorates the day when slaves were emancipated in Suriname. Also known as Keti Koti, this holiday is a day of great celebration in the country and has been since 1963.

It is a day when equality and life, liberty, and justice are all honored, and people enjoy solidarity with one another. There is food, music, dancing, and other events that can be enjoyed on the streets of Suriname on this holiday. It is also a day to wear colorful clothing and enjoy time with friends and family.

The History of Freedom Day in Suriname

In Suriname, in 1863, slavery was abolished, but enslaved people at the time wouldn’t actually be able to enjoy their freedom until 10 years later in 1873. That’s due to a decade-long transition period in which many ex-slaves were required to work on plantations for minimal pay, and if they were discovered outdoors without a pass, they could be jailed.

After the 1873 date passed, many former slaves would end up leaving the plantations and moving to the city of Paramaribo. Former slave owners were compensated for their perceived loss. This holiday wouldn’t become a national celebration and remembrance over the entire country until 2009, although it has been celebrated since 1963 in various cities in Suriname.

Observing Freedom Day in Suriname

On this holiday, people take to the streets for parades, to hang out with family and friends, and participate in festivals. There are also dance performances, poetry recitals, and some people watch movies commemorating the day. The hashtag #FreedomDaySuriname can now be used on social media to also commemorate this holiday if a person is so inclined.

This holiday is also a good day for people to enjoy one of the many Surinamese food specialties. Dishes such as Moksi Alesi (Mixed Rice), Grated Plantain Soup, Heri Heri, Roti, Samosa, Baked Chickpeas, or Saoto Soup.

Where is it celebrated?
Suriname (Public holiday)
When is it?
This year (2024)
July 1 Monday
Next year (2025)
July 1 Tuesday
Last year (2023)
July 1 Saturday