Surinamese Carnival, ‘de Avond Vierdaagse’, every year during Easter!
By: Tania van Velthuizen
AVD: the must-see walking event of Suriname Foot by foot, they walk the buzzing streets of the capital of Paramaribo. The sounds of people cheering from the sidelines encourage them to keep going. After all, they signed up for 8 to 15 kilometers, rain or sunshine! ..will you join also?
A yearly event in Suriname
The name says it all: Avond (evening) + Vierdaagse (four days), shortened AVD, is a walking event held in the evenings for four days in a row. Anybody can join this festive happening, whether you’re young or old, Surinamese or foreigner, individual or company.
The participants are conveniently divided into four groups: seniors, juniors, individuals, and long-distance runners. For each group, the distances vary, from 8 to 15 kilometers. Approximately 8.000 sporty individuals put on their walking shoes for this event. Each year, this spectacular walking event is organized by the BVSS (Bedrijven Vereniging Sport en Spel). They have been continuously regulating the AVD in detail for 55 years already. And each year comes with a new slogan that illustrates the tradition.
The slogan for 2019 is:”55 Yari, Wi e waka kba”, which means: “We have been walking for 55 years.” Ouch, those feet must be hurting!
Experience a colorful Surinamese carnival If you think this is event is only suitable for sports fans, you’re wrong. It’s not just a walking event. It’s a vibrant carnival! People dress up in beautiful costumes and there is lots of live music, singing, and dancing. So if you’re not participating, exchange those walking shoes for dancing ones and get ready to experience carnival in a Surinamese way! Participating groups can even win prizes for their unique appearances.
In the categories Culture, Junior, Senior, and Companies the walkers compete fanatically against each other. You can surely imagine them showing their traditional clothing and colorful accessories such as bags, umbrella’s and footwear while walking and dancing towards the finish!
Combine sports with pleasure!
The walking route is known in advance so you will see lots of fans and viewers cheering the walkers from the sidelines. Be sure to pick a good spot! Some families even have front row seats: these lucky ones live alongside the route, so they comfortably place their chairs right at their doorstep and have a big feast themselves.
The Surinamese sure know how to party: good food, drinks, family and friends is all they need. A great way to fully enjoy this event in front of their own house! AVD increases a sense of community In the past 55 years, the Avond Vierdaagse has proven to be unique and a huge success. Its purpose is to increase the togetherness among the Surinamese society, exchange cultures, and to be healthy. After all, walking is good for your health, so why not combine sports with pleasure? It’s a true spectacle for both the participants and the viewers.
Experience Avond Vierdaagse during Easter Holidays!
Everyone is welcome at the AVD: individuals, groups, schools, companies, cultural and political organizations. Are you doubting whether you have the right age to participate? Remember, age is just a number!
Participants vary from 2 to 83 years, so there are no boundaries! Also, both Surinamese and foreigners participate, and the foreign group is growing steadily. It’s a great way to exchange cultures and unite during this traditional feast in Paramaribo! The Avond Vierdaagse is held during the Easter holidays in the 3rdweek of April, immediately after Easter.
So, if you want to experience it yourself, be sure to plan your next holiday to Suriname in the month of April!
Do you want to come in the Carnival mood already or feel the vibe Surinamese style?
See this short movie:
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Tania van Velthuizen is the owner of Pejego Tours. She was born and raised in Suriname. She studied Surinamese law and loves to travel. Before going to Europe, she worked at the Ministry of Regional Development, so she visited every bit of the Amazon rainforest. At the time, she fell in love with everything it had to offer, including the Amerindians and the Maroons, the fauna and flora. She also wrote a book on the land rights of Indigenous people and the descendants of the Maroons.
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