Suriname is a small country on the northeastern coast of South America. The small country has quite a number of facts that you might find funny at face value. To them though, these are their ways of life. For example, when you go to the Surinamese family home and ask to see the head, a person of what gender do you expect to see?
Too, in most countries and societies of the world, one major cause of marital problems is the other man or woman. How do the Surinamese view this? You will get the answers to these and learn of others in the 11 funny facts that follow. Enjoy.
Currency: Surinamese dollar
President: Dési Bouterse
Official language: Dutch
Government: Unitary Parliamentary Republic
Population: 573,311 (2014 estimate)
Funny Facts About Suriname
1. TAKE PHOTOS WITH CARE
Be respectful when taking photographs. The inland-people, for example, consider certain trees and spots holy. Therefore, funny as it might sound to you, you might be desecrating the holiness of such trees or spots by photographing them. Your local guide will usually also indicate so. But in case he does not, ask for consent when you think it is appropriate as you would anywhere else.
2. FEMALE FAMILY HEADS
In other lands, ask for the head of a family and a man would come to you. Not so in Suriname! As in the Caribbean family system, female-headed households abound. Also, women having children from different partners are accepted. Therefore, however funny, she brings her children from all the men to her home and assumes headship.
3. SERIAL MONOGAMY
In case you visit Suriname looking to marry a Surinamese, here is one funny fact you must know. Some women practice serial monogamy…you are the only man just while you two last together. Another man is already likely queuing.
4. PHILANDERING ACCEPTED
On the funny side, if you are a philanderer, Suriname is the place you should marry from. Having a mistress is accepted and usually is not shrouded in secrecy. Maroon men often have different wives in different villages. Men usually have several partners simultaneously.
5. COMPULSORY BARE NECESSITIES
In Suriname, marry as many women as you please. The women are not jealous. However, you have the responsibility to ensure each wife has all of these three basic things:
- A hut
- A boat
- A cleared plot
She needs these for subsistence agriculture. And you are free.
6. DON’T TOUCH THAT BABY!
If you love babies and like to touch them, there is a funny little shock for you when you visit Suriname. With the Maroon women, you will not have any issues at all. But with the Amerindian women…they don’t like anybody touching their babies.
7. KEEP COOL
A typical, mainly urban Creole, expression is “no span.” It means “Keep cool” or “don’t worry.” This is a symbol of the generally relaxed atmosphere. The population has a reputation for being hospitable, and most houses do not have a knocker or a bell. Get to the door, just take off your shoes, go in.
8. EXPECTED OF KIDS
You initiate a casual conversation with a handshake. And among good friends, greeting is usually with a brasa or a hug. And if you go with children, teach them to:
- Respect adults
- Use the formal form of address when speaking to them
- Be silent when adults speak
9. WASP/ANT RITUALS
The Wayana has a funny rite of passage. Boys undergo an initiation rite called eputop, where wasps are woven into a rush mat in the form of an animal that symbolises power and courage. The mats are tied to the boys, who must withstand the stinging without a whimper. Among the Caribs, the girls undergo a similar ritual, except that stinging ants rather than wasps are used.
10. RESPECT RULES OF ETIQUETTE
Surinamers may be hospitable, but they are annoyed if visitors violate unwritten rules of etiquette. In daily life the following rules apply:
- Dress code: lightweight and casual, but elegant. In the city ‘cover up’, even when you go shopping.
- For business appointments dress conservatively. Men should wear lightweight trousers, leather shoes and a shirt and tie. Short-sleeved buttoned shirts, that are neatly pressed, are generally accepted.
- Keep swimwear for the pools; do not walk around in bathing suits in the hotel lobbies.
11. ASK BUT DON’T ASK
Be discrete. Ask questions about things not too clear to you. What is funny however is you must steer clear of asking questions about private life. Doing that can easily be interpreted as nosiness and will make people shut up. They will tell what they wish to when they want to.