Indigenous Peoples Day in Suriname

Indigenous peoples have lived in Suriname for over 5,000 years, with the Arawak and Carib occupying it long before European colonial powers discovered it. When European powers first colonized the country, they changed the ethnic makeup of the country and forced their own way of life on the remaining indigenous peoples. That’s why August 9th is now an important holiday in Suriname, known as Indigenous People’s Day.

This holiday attempts to raise public attention about the indigenous peoples of the country and the struggles they have had to endure throughout history. This day coincides with the United Nations International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples — a holiday that honors the indigenous peoples of the world.

The History of Indigenous People’s Day in Suriname

During the 16th century, European settlement of Suriname began, despite the country already being occupied by the Arawak and Carib tribes. Nowadays, the indigenous population of this country is only about 4% of the total population of half a million people. The holiday honoring the indigenous people of Suriname was established on the same day as the UN’s International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.

Observing Indigenous People’s Day in Suriname

Because this holiday is a public holiday, it is a day off for the general population, and businesses are closed for the day. This holiday is traditionally observed in the Palm Garden in the capital city of Paramaribo. This is where indigenous tribes from across the country come to sell their handicrafts and food.

Large festivals are also organized in indigenous villages by the Association of Indigenous Village Leaders. During these events, there are often cook-outs that feature traditional dishes such as Atjupo — a pepper pot spiced up with wild game or fish and served with cassava bread. It is also traditional to serve yams in banana leaves, crabs, caterpillars, and Kasiri: an alcoholic drink made from cassava. Artisan crafts such as woven clothing or pottery, and traditional medicines are sold on this day.

Where is it celebrated?
Suriname (Public holiday)
When is it?
This year (2024)
August 9 Friday
Next year (2025)
August 9 Saturday
Last year (2023)
August 9 Wednesday