December 31 is the time of the year where people all over Suriname gathered in the center of the city to celebrate Owru Yari (old year) or literally the blasting away of evil spirits by lighting up a really long string of fireworks called the pagara estafette.
All vehicles were blocked from entering the main streets and live bands/ DJs were playing a few blocks away from each other. Club/party music and catchy Caribbean beats randomly played and people danced and partied like there’s no tomorrow.
While on our way to Domineestraat, a group of people were handing out free earplugs and I was like WHYYY? Well, I learned the answer afterwards. There were also food and drink stands in every corner and some people were carrying ice boxes with their own drinks. That’s really practical since drink prices were raised 2x.
At exactly 12 noon, the music and dancing stopped as the lighting of the pagara started. The whole area were filled with smoke, red flying fragments and a loud continuous explosion that lasted for a minute. That’s the right way to keep away evil spirits!
Police officers were also available in the area to make sure everything is under control. I’m not sure how many pagaras were lighted though, since other streets were also filled with red papers from the fireworks.
The Krasnapolsky Hotel is a perfect place to watch the Owru Yari celebration. People booked in advance for the purpose of the event. We never thought about that, well maybe this year. After the pagara hit its last stroke, people above the Krasnapolsky fired up confetti and everyone cheered.
It was such a memorable event to end the New Year as people of different races unite and have fun together.
Happy New Year, World!