Keti Koti 2016 in Suriname

Keti (chains) Koti (cut) is a Sranantongo or Taki taki word which means the chains are broken or the chains are cut. It marks the end of slavery in Suriname and Dutch Antilles from the Netherlands in July 1, 1863. It then became a national holiday and is celebrated in Suriname, Dutch Antilles and major Dutch cities including Amsterdam and Rotterdam.

People of different ethnicity gathered in the Palmentuin to commemorate the event. Most women and children were seen wearing the traditional creole costume called the Kotomisi, a colorful layered fabric that comes with a creatively folded headscarf as a symbol of Suriname’s history and freedom.

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

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


We attended the event in the late afternoon after my work. The place was already crowded. Most of the programs were held in the morning, I guess we already missed it. There were music, dancing and lots of happy faces especially from children. Locals said that the party continues until the next day since it’s a long weekend. Food booths were everywhere too, serving different types of local dishes. Their BBQ Kip (chicken) is a must-try! Yeah, the smell was so inviting. 😛


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

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