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Suriname: A Unique Blend of Diverse Cultures

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Located on the northeast coast of South America, Suriname is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the North, French Guiana to the East, Guyana to the West, and Brazil to the South. Paramaribo, the capital city, is home to approximately half of the country’s population. Though the smallest country in South America, Suriname is one of the world’s most diverse countries, so diverse in fact that it doesn’t have a racial majority. While it’s officially considered a Caribbean country, the nation is made up of a unique and beautiful blend of cultures, languages and religious faiths that live together in peace and harmony.

Suriname’s cultural fusion is perhaps best reflected in its unique musical genre called Kaseko, which is most popular among Surinamese of African descent. Kaseko blends popular and folk music elements from Africa, Europe, and the Americas. It has a complex rhythm, which is maintained by percussion instruments, while the melody is often played by wind instruments, including the saxophone, the trumpet, and occasionally the trombone.

Suriname’s diversity is also reflected in the people’s dress. The most traditional attire for Surinamese of African descent is a beautiful piece of colorful cloth called a Pangi, which is short for Pangani. There are different types of Pangi for different purposes and ceremonies, with different Pangi having fashionable, social and spiritual meanings.

The arts and crafts of the Surinamese people have deep roots in the nearby Amazon Rainforest. Maroons are particularly famous for their intricate carvings, which are often in the form of useful household implements such as stools, cabinets and kitchen utensils.

Besides its friendly and creative people, Suriname is famous, for its incredible tropical rainforests. The Central Suriname Nature Reserve was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000 for its pristine tropical rainforest ecosystem and its biodiversity. Suriname’s large forested area has made it carbon negative since 2014, meaning that it absorbs more carbon than it emits, thus doing its bit to reduce climate change.

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