Chinese New Year is a public holiday for the people of Suriname, and it is an especially important time of year for Surinamese of Chinese ancestory.
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The Chinese New Year comes in early spring, and is often called Spring Festival. And because the Chinese Calendar is based on lunar cycles, at least in part, Chinese New Year is also termed Lunar New Year. The dates on the Gregorian Calendar vary, but it will often be sometime in January or February.
Chinese people first came to Suriname as plantation workers recruited by the Dutch to replace soon-to-be-freed slaves in 1858. When they arrived, however, they were tricked and treated like slaves.
Later on, however, they were made true indentured servants who were free after their term of service ended. And many others came in the 1900’s as free labourers from the start.
In Paramaribo, the streets of the capital city are sometimes filled with fireworks and decorations for Chinese New Year and people may continue to celebrate by way of various traditions for weeks rather than just a day or two.