Rice is the staple diet for most people. Pom is puréed taro root, spiced and served with kip (chicken). Moksie alesie is a rice dish with meat, chicken, white beans, tomatoes, peppers, and spices.

Education is free and compulsory from the age of six years to twelve years. Most students leaving primary education continue into secondary school. Higher education is provided by the government at the Anton de Kom University. Literacy rates (percent of the population who can read and write) are about 95 percent for both men and women.

The Dutch imported west African slaves to Suriname to work on sugarcane and coffee plantations. Later indentured workers (contract laborers) were brought from Java, China, and India to work in the fields. It is in this rich ethnic mixture that the modern Surinamese have their roots.

The country's economy suffered during the 1980s because of political instability. Health is generally good. Sanitary conditions and nutrition are generally adequate.

Suriname became a British colony in 1650 and a Dutch colony in 1667. The Dutch made what has been called the worst land-swap deal in history. They took Suriname in exchange for Nieuw Amsterdam—or New York, as the British called it.

Anyone visiting a friend or acquaintance is expected to call on everyone they know in the same neighborhood. Not to do so is considered extremely rude.

Beatty, Noelle B. Suriname, Major World Nations. New York: Chelsea House Pub., 1997.

The food of Suriname reflects the country's ethnic diversity. Warungs— Javanese food stalls—serve bami goreng (fried noodles) and nasi goreng (fried rice). Creole food uses tubers, such as cassava and sweet potatoes. Plantains, similar to bananas, are eaten with chicken and seafood, including shrimp.

Many of the Maroons' huts display the fine woodcarvings for which they are famous and that adorn furniture, tools, and boots. The Afro-centered Maroon culture is also known for its sculpture.

Life expectancy is sixty-eight years for men and seventy-three for women, among the highest in South America.

Young people enjoy outings, sporting events, and movies, as well as dancing.

Many of the Maroons (who are descended from escaped black African slaves) have more than one wife. Care of their children is entrusted to one parent at a time. Children spend their first four to six years with their mother. Many are then given to the father or another relative. There may be further shifts at later ages based on the child's developing needs or the parents' situation.

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World Travel Guide. Suriname. [Online] Available http://www.wtgonline.com/country/sr/gen.html , 1998.

Drums are used to accompany the intense dancing during competitions known as "dance feasts." The drums of the Maroons must never be touched by a female.

LANGUAGE: Dutch (official); English; Spanish; Sranan; Hindi; Sranan Tongo (Taki-Taki)

The Asian Indians are mostly small farmers. Creoles in urban areas work mostly in retail, politics, and the professions. The Javanese work mainly on Dutch-owned plantations. Many families depend on relatives in the Netherlands who send home money. Some Surinamese add to their incomes by working illegally in neighboring Guyana and French Guiana. There are no unemployment benefits or other social welfare benefits.

Naming ceremonies at birth are important among Surinamese of all religions. Wedding ceremonies are elaborate and colorful, with generous feasting. Circumcision of males is practiced by Muslims.

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Hindus practice a birth ceremony called jatakarma . Traditionally it takes place before the umbilical cord is cut. The naming ceremony occurs ten days after the child is born. The different Christian sects baptize children according to their own religious traditions.

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Sedoc-Dahlberg, Betty. The Dutch Caribbean: Prospects for Democracy. New York: Gordon and Breach, 1990.

Sometimes Surinamese will also generally call a piece of clothing a pangi.

Chin, Henk E. Surinam: Politics, Economics, and Society. New York: F. Pinter, 1987.

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It can be used for spiritual meaning, for conveying a message, or simply as a fashion statement and or showing your pride in your culture.

Clothing Of Suriname

Different kotos exist for various occasions like weddings or funerals. The development of the koto as regular dress is not complete but it is still used in special occasions like the koto-dansi.

I’m just going to deal with the basic pangi.

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The koto, kotomisse[1] or kotomisi is a traditional dress from the Afro-Surinamese women or Creoles in Suriname. The koto was developed during the slavery period in Suriname; its special purpose was to protect the Afro-Surinamese woman against their masters’ sexual interest. [2]

Birdsong competitions are held in parks and public plazas on Sundays and holidays. People carrying their songbirds (usually small black tua-tuas) in cages are a frequent sight on the streets of Paramaribo. They may be on the way to a training session or simply taking the bird for a stroll.

Formerly called Dutch Guiana, Suriname is the smallest country in South America. It also has the smallest population, estimated at 410,000 in 1990. Located on the north-central coast of South America, it has an area of 63,251 square miles (163,820 square kilometers). Suriname has a narrow coastal plain. Much of it is swampy and requires drainage systems and dikes. Low, forested mountain ranges cover 80 percent of the country.

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Certain parts of the interior are controlled by groups of armed rebels. Warfare has driven many refugees from Maroon villages across the border into camps in French Guiana.

The main religion in Suriname is Christianity, followed by Hinduism and Islam. Some Christian groups also follow traditional African practices such as Obeah and Winti. Winti is a largely secret religion from West Africa. It recognizes a multitude of gods and ghosts, each having its own myths, rites, offerings, taboos (forbidden acts), and magical forces.

The pangis can be very elaborate with ruffles, intricate designs or you can use it very basic.

The official language of Suriname is Dutch, but many people speak English. Sranan (a Creole language), Hindi, and other Asian Indian, African, and Amerindian languages are also spoken. Altogether, twenty-two languages are spoken. The most common language is Sranan Tongo, also called Taki-Taki. It combines elements of English, Dutch, and several African languages.

At night the mellow sounds of metallic music are heard in the capital city, Paramaribo. This is the famous traditional Javanese "gamelan" music.

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