Surinamese Hindus
Total population
129,440 (2015)
constituting 23.15% of the population.
Regions with significant populations
Suriname · Netherlands · Guyana  · Dutch Caribbean · United States · Canada
Religions
Hinduism
(Sanātana Dharma)
Majority sect
Sanātanī (80.58%)
Minority sects
Arya Samaj (13.81%) · Kabir Panth · Sathya Sai Baba movement · Caribbean Shaktism (Kali Mai Dharam/Madrasi Hinduism) · Hindu atheism · Others
Scriptures
Vedas · Puranas · Upanishads  · Ramayana (incl. Ramcharitmanas version) · Mahabharata (incl. Bhagavad Gita· other Hindu texts
Languages
Sanskrit · Tamil (liturgical language)
Sarnami Hindustani · Surinamese Dutch · English · Sranan Tongo
Related ethnic groups
Guyanese Hindus · Trinidadian and Tobagonian Hindus · Jamaican Hindus · other Caribbean Hindus
Arya Diwaker Hindu temple in Paramaribo

Hinduism in Suriname is the second-largest religion. According to ARDA, there are 129,440 Hindus in Suriname as of 2015, constituting 23.15% of the population.[1][2] Suriname has the second largest percentage of Hindus in the Western Hemisphere, after Guyana (24.8%).

History

Hindu woman festively dressed in Suriname in 1900

The story of Hindus in Suriname is broadly parallel to that in Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago. Indian indentured labourers were sent to colonial Dutch Guiana by special arrangement between the Dutch and British.[3] The difference is that the Netherlands' more liberal policy toward Hinduism allowed a stronger culture to develop. Example is the almost universal reading of the Bhagavad Gita, the Ramcharitmanas, and the Ramayana.[4][5]

Demographics

According to ARDA, there are 129,440 Hindus in Suriname as of 2015, constituting 23.15% of the population.[6][7]

Population by year

Year Percent of Hindus Change
1900 16.4% -
1916 19.8% +3.4%
1936 21.8% +2.0%
1946 19.5% -2.3%
1964 27% +7.5%
1971 29.5% +2.5%
1980 27.4% -2.1%
2004 19.9% -7.4%
2012 22.3% +2.4%
2015 23.1% +0.8%

The percentage of Hindus increased initially (1900 – 1930s), fluctuated slightly between the 1930s and 1980s, and remained stable in the 20s (20%).The demographic changes in the religious population in the first half of the 20th century can be explained by migration. In the second half of the 20th century, in particular after 1970s the decline of Hindus might be explained by large migration to the Netherlands during the independence (1975) and the military regime in the 1980-1987.[8]

Population by districts

Distribution of Hindus by district
District Percent of Hindus
Saramacca 44.6%
Nickerie 43.2%
Wanica 39.9%
Commewijne District 24.5%
Paramaribo 13.8%
Para 4.9%
Coronie 2.2%
Marowijne 0.9%
Brokopondo 0.4%
Sipaliwini 0.3%

Hindu denominations

See also: Arya Samaj in Suriname

Hindu temple in Nickerie

According to the 2012 census, 18% of Surinamese are Sanatani Hindus, 3.1% are Arya Samaj, and the remaining 1.2% followed other forms of Hinduism.

ISKCON also have a presence in Suriname. The first Hare Krishna devotees to visit Suriname were devotees from Guyana way back in the early 1980s. The first Center was established about two decades ago, and now there is a vibrant preaching center in the country’s second city, New Nickerie.[9]

Communities of Indo-Caribbeans in Suriname also practice Madras Hinduism, a syncretic largely based on Tamil Hinduism

Ethnicity

Ethnicity[10]
Ethnicity Percent
Indian
95.7%
Mixed
2.6%
Javanese
0.75%
Creole
0.14%
Chinese
0.13%
Others
0.2%

Majority of the Hindus in Suriname are East Indians, both in absolute terms and in percentage. Hinduism has a considerable following among Mixed ethnic people (3,210 people) and Javanese Surinamese (915 people). Hinduism is also practised among Chinese Surinamese (157 people), Creole (142 people), Maroon (84 people), Indigenous people (83 people) and Afro-Surinamese (59 people).[10]

Ethnic group Percent of Ethnic group practising Hinduism
Indo-Surinamese 78%
Mixed 2.4%
Chinese 1%
Afro-Surinamese 0.5%
Javanese 1.2%
Indigenous people 0.04%
Creole 0.017%
Maroon 0.007%

Contemporary Society

Shri Vishnu mandir, Paramaribo

Language

In contrast to the neighbouring Guyanese Hindus who speak English, most of the Surinamese Hindus speak Sarnami Hindustani, a dialect of Bhojpuri. This is largely due to the fact that the Dutch did not force the Indo-Caribbean population to abandon their native languages, unlike in British colonies like Trinidad and Guyana, where English was imposed as a means of attempting to erase cultural and religious traditions.[11]

Festivals

Deepavali and Holi are national holidays in Suriname.[12]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Suriname, Religion And Social Profile". thearda.com. Retrieved 2021-10-15.
  2. ^ "Microsoft PowerPoint - DEFINITIEF-VOL-I.ppt" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2018-09-20.
  3. ^ Sandew Hira (2008). "The legacy of 135 years of Indian Immigration in Suriname" (PDF).
  4. ^ "Hindus of South America". Guyanaundersiege.com. Retrieved 2018-09-20.
  5. ^ Emmer, Pieter Cornelis; Ulijaszek, Stanley (2006). The Dutch Slave Trade, 1500-1850. Berghahn Books. ISBN 9781845450311.
  6. ^ "Suriname, Religion And Social Profile". thearda.com. Retrieved 2021-10-15.
  7. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2018-09-20.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ Kirtie Algoe (2016). "Colonial Christian Dominance and Religious Diversity in Suriname". doi:10.13140/RG.2.2.29120.53761 – via ResearchGate. ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  9. ^ "ISKCON Suriname Holds First Ratha-yatra". 30 September 2016.
  10. ^ a b "Suriname census 2012, Volume 1" (PDF) – via United Nations Statistics Division.
  11. ^ "Surinamese Hinduism's Enduring Practice". 6 May 2015.
  12. ^ "Suriname Public Holidays".