Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Owru Yari, Happy New Year!

Suriname's capital, Paramaribo, has apparently been listed as one of the top places in the world to celebrate New Years. Actually, it seems they don't really celebrate New Years in such a big way, but they celebrate the old year, and this is what 'Owru Yari' means. I don't know who listed it as a top place for New Years, I heard it from a local, it might have been Lonely Planet. 
They probably deserve the title. They certainly blow up more fire crackers than I would have ever imagined. Starting from midday on December 31st they roll out metres and metres of firecrackers along the central city streets, and then set them alight at one end so that the crowds can watch the crackers as one sets alight to the next and the next and the next in a domino effort. They repeat this again and again in multiple streets. Until about 6pm. 
They also light a few more in intersections, and at one a crane dangled a line of firecrackers so that the crackers would go off in domino effect up to the top. 
It's extremely loud and the air becomes thick with smoke. A service club was handing out free earplugs to encourage people to avoid ear damage. 

In the picture below you can see that the crowd behind the line of firecrackers has turned away, because the wind was blowing the smoke and debris directly on that side of the crowd (and H and I thought it bad enough where we were, but we were lucky). 

H and I brought our own earplugs and bandanas to breath through. Then, when H asked the firefighters a question (about where was a good place to be), they gave him a pair of safety glasses.

Lots of people had Owru Yari shirts, and some had these cool green glasses  and cups on carnival beads too. 

Paramaribo had laid out a red carpet for its visitors and residents.... Of spent firecrackers. 

I have mixed feelings about this and most the New Years Celebrations in the world. I'm curious, so I always want to see a celebration that is listed as a 'best'. But, I also hate the useless expenditure on an item (firecrackers) that does such environmental damage and scares dogs and perhaps other animals so much. Plus, there is very little regulation in many arts of the world. Anybody can buy the firecrackers (5 metres or 300!) and, unfortunately, many kids lose fingers and/or eyesight to these 'toys'. 

As I write this, it's still New Years Eve. We are back with friends (at the Domburg Marina) for a few quiet drinks... Although, there's some teens outside in the street firing some more crackers and someones letting off fireworks in the other direction. It's about 7pm. 


  1. Hendrik en Ali,
    Nog heel hartelijk gefeliciteerd met jullie huwelijk!
    Wat een indrukwekkend leven hebben jullie!
    Zo zie je maar dat op elk potje een dekseltje past!
    En dat het sjiek is dat je je dromen zo nastreeft!
    Doe zo voort!

  2. Happy new year and more travel experience for 2015...

    PS.. Venezuela will be next?

  3. Heya Guys,

    Looks like you had some fun in Paramaribo.

    I had my images published by Matador Network while we had a blast during the celebrations in Suriname. Check them out if you like:

    Adventurous greetings,