Keti Koti 2016 in Suriname

Keti Koti is a Sranantongo word that means “the chains are broken” or “the chains are cut”. It marks the end of slavery in Suriname from the Netherlands in July 1, 1863.

Keti Koti became a national holiday and is celebrated every July 1 in Suriname, Dutch Antilles and in major Dutch cities like Amsterdam and Rotterdam.

People of different ethnicity would gather in the Palmentuin to commemorate the event. Most women and children are seen wearing the traditional creole costume called the Kotomisi (a colorful layered fabric that comes with a creatively folded headscarf).

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Locals selling Angisa or Anisa, a kind of head dress or body covering
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Girls wearing kotomisi with Surinamese flags

The Kotomisi were originally worn by Surinamese slaves during the 18th and 19th century to make the women look ugly or unattractive. The purpose of this was to prevent any sexual assaults from their masters. These slaves came from Africa and were brought to Suriname to work in the sugarcane plantations.

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We went to the Palmentuin late in the afternoon. The place was already crowded. We missed most of the presentations because they were performed in the morning. The music and dancing were never ending. Local said that the party will continue until the next day since it is a long weekend. Food booths were everywhere too, serving different types of local dishes. The BBQ Kip (chicken) is a must-try! Yeah, the smell was so inviting. 😛

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Some families arrive wearing a modern-type kotomisi with the same pattern

© Pancake Bunnykins

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