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On the northeast shore of South America lies our beautiful country Suriname. Once we were a colony of the Netherlands that used slaves from Africa and later on contract laborers from Asia (China, India and Indonesia), which resulted in today's mixed population. Each ethnic group has its own traditions and costumes. The traditional costumes are still worn on national holidays or at special occasions (e.g. weddings).
These pictures are from students and teachers who have visited the school during this school year 2002/2003 and the pictures were taken on the 22nd of November 2002, during activities for 27th anniversary of Independence Day of Suriname, 25th November.


The traditional costume of Indigenous women in Suriname comprises a "pemycle" (headband / bandana), the "saya" (two pangi's tied on both side clockwise across the shoulders). The "angesa" ( a shoulder covering) is tied on the chest. The whole costume is made of several pieces of cloth and a diverse number of colorful woolen thread. Besides that women are also dressed with beaden necklaces and bracelets. She also places "maritje" (fluffy feathers) in her hair. She uses "arakuseri" as make up to beautify her face. The "arakuseri" is a mixture of "kusuwe" and juices from two other trees. It has a brownish color. Women apply this to the face as it is a common believe among indigenous people that women will be beautiful and attractive if they look like a bird.


When there was slavery the slaves wore a "pagni" (a piece of cloth). The women wrapped the cloth around their body so that upper side sat under their arm-pits. By the men the "pagni" covers a small piece of their body. The slaves had to wear the "pagni" to make them feel inferior towards their master.

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