Surinamese Cultures

Suriname is strongly influenced by Asian, African, and European cultures. Suriname’s population includes Hindustanis, Creoles, Javanese, Maroons, and Amerindians. The diversity of its population is a point of pride among many Surinamese people. The country is about as large as the state of Florida, and about 95 percent of Suriname is covered with tropical rain forest.

In Suriname, conflict among different ethnic groups is uncommon. The Surinamese tend to be open, friendly, and generous. While American entertainment and fashion has influenced Surinamese culture, traditional customs remain prevalent.

Host a Surinamese student in the U.S.

Surinamese People and Community

The Suriname River waterfront is a popular sunset meeting point in Paramaribo.

Some extended families live together, but typically nuclear families live under one household. Children in urban areas may live with their parents until they marry. Strong emotional ties between parents and children are expected. In fact, it is common for elderly parents to live with their children. Household chores for Surinamese children begin around the age of nine or ten. Girls typically help with cooking and cleaning, while boys assist with more manual labor. Women are expected to maintain household duties, even if they work full time.

Language and Communication Styles

The official language of Suriname is Dutch. Sranan Tongo, a Creole language, is the most popular choice for informal conversation.

Food in Suriname

Surinamese cuisine maintains Asian, African, and European influences. Popular dishes include pom (a Creole dish named for the ingredient pomtayer, a local root), bami (a Javanese noodle dish), and roti (a dish of curried chicken, vegetables, and potato, wrapped in a flour pancake). Maroon and indigenous dishes are becoming more commonplace; peprewatra (pepper water) is a common soup prepared with fresh fish and cassava water.