Suriname African Heritage – religion. Anana, Aisa, winti

Winti(ween tee)

Religious practices also survived. It is still being practiced by creoles in the city and maroons in the interior.

In Suriname we call it Winti.

I will briefly explain the Winti.

Winti, term, is sort of a catch phrase for spirit, spiritual, religion.

winti

Anana(ah nah nah) is the main god or creator but you can only reach him through his lesser gods.

There are 4 groups of lesser gods: god of the earth, god of the water, god of the forest, and god of the air or wind

Aisa(eye sah), mother god of the earth,  is the highest and is considered closest to Anana. Which is why at most Winti rituals or payers begin with an offering or odo(oh doh) to Aisa, hoping that she will intervene on your behalf regarding many issues, such as healing, protection, or general blessing.

Winti is still practiced by maroons & creoles alike. The majority of creoles however are Christian, but the Winti religion still survives. Many maroons are also Christian but I’m not sure about the ratio. I do believe that the Saamaka are the largest Christian maroon group.

One of the most common prayers to Aisa, which everyone in Suriname has heard on many occasions is as follows:

Mama Aisa, gorong winti,
gorong gado,
A pikin suku yepi.

Mother Aisa, spirit of the earth,
god of the earth,
Your children are seeking your help.

This prayer is often accompanied by sprinkling an odo, offering, to the earth, usually some strong alcoholic drink.

The prayer sounds like this:

One personal note about this song.  In my opinion this song’s melody bears a slight resemblance to the African American spiritual “Deep River”.  Searh google: Deep River – Paul Robeson


One can often witness a Winti Prei,(Ween tee pray) which is a ritual prayer ceremony accompanied by drums, where you can see participants get in trance and perform supernatural acts, such as dancing barefoot on broken glass, on hot coals, eating glass and more, without any physical damage or cuts to the skin.

They cover part of their bodies with pemba doti(pih m bah doh tee), a white clay powder, (kaolin) which they believe will bring them closer to the god(s).

Example of a Winti Prei:

Seketi Dance – Saamaka style

Seketi is a Saamaka style dance.

The locals at Pingpe(A Saamaka village) giving a customary welcome performance for the visitors(tourists).

Here they perform Seketi. It is a spiritual dance where participant often times get in a trance, but in this case it is more light hearted for entertainment purposes.

All the dance moves you see are traditional and go back centuries:

Here is another Seketi dance. This is in a church setting and they praise the Lord with a Seketi dance: