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Winti

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Dutch Royal Tropical Institute, Objectnumber 10019264, Portrait after a Winti-dance in a Maroon village, Suriname, 1948. The dance is called Wintidansi or wentipee the Ndyuka language. The dancers prepared their bodies with herbs and are therefore able to dance through the fire. While making music (striking the Apinti, singing and dancing) it is possible for the dancer to go into a trance. The Winti-dance is only performed on special occasions.
Dutch Royal Tropical Institute, Objectnumber 10019264, Portrait after a Winti-dance in a Maroon village, Suriname, 1948. The dance is called Wintidansi or wentipee the Ndyuka language. The dancers prepared their bodies with herbs and are therefore able to dance through the fire. While making music (striking the Apinti, singing and dancing) it is possible for the dancer to go into a trance. The Winti-dance is only performed on special occasions.

Winti is an Afro-Surinamese traditional religion that originated in the colony Suriname, part of the Dutch Empire. It is a syncretization of the different African religious beliefs and practices brought in mainly by Akan and Fon slaves during the slave period. The religion has no written sources, nor a central authority. The term is also used for all supernatural beings or spirits (Wintis) created by Anana, the creator of the universe.

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Afro-Surinamese

Afro-Surinamese

Afro-Surinamese are the inhabitants of Suriname of Sub-Saharan African ancestry. They are descended from enslaved Africans brought to work on sugar plantations. Many of them escaped the plantations and formed independent settlements together, becoming known as Maroons and Bushinengue. They maintained vestiges of African culture and language. They are split into two ethnic subgroups.

Colony

Colony

In modern parlance, a colony is a territory subject to a form of foreign rule. Though dominated by the foreign colonizers, colonies remain separate from the administration of the original country of the colonizers, the metropolitan state. This administrative colonial separation makes colonies neither incorporated territories nor client states. Some colonies have been organized either as dependent territories that are not sufficiently self-governed, or as self-governed colonies controlled by colonial settlers.

Suriname

Suriname

Suriname, officially the Republic of Suriname, is a country on the northeastern Atlantic coast of South America. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the north, French Guiana to the east, Guyana to the west, and Brazil to the south. At just under 165,000 square kilometers, it is the smallest sovereign state in South America.

Dutch Empire

Dutch Empire

The Dutch Empire or the Dutch colonial empire comprised the overseas territories and trading posts controlled and administered by Dutch chartered companies—mainly the Dutch West India Company and the Dutch East India Company—and subsequently by the Dutch Republic (1581–1795), and by the modern Kingdom of the Netherlands after 1815. It was initially a trade-based system which derived most of its influence from merchant enterprise and from Dutch control of international maritime shipping routes through strategically placed outposts, rather than from expansive territorial ventures. The Dutch were among the earliest empire-builders of Europe, following Spain and Portugal.

Akan people

Akan people

The Akan people live primarily in present-day Ghana and Ivory Coast in West Africa. The Akan language are a group of dialects within the Central Tano branch of the Potou–Tano subfamily of the Niger–Congo family. Subgroups of the Akan people include: the Agona, Akuapem, Akwamu, Akyem, Ashanti, Bono, Fante, Kwahu, Wassa, and Ahanta. The Akan subgroups all have cultural attributes in common; most notably the tracing of matrilineal descent, inheritance of property, and succession to high political office.

Fon people

Fon people

The Fon people, also called Fon nu, Agadja or Dahomey, are a Gbe ethnic group. They are the largest ethnic group in Benin found particularly in its south region; they are also found in southwest Nigeria and Togo. Their total population is estimated to be about 3,500,000 people, and they speak the Fon language, a member of the Gbe languages.

Description(s)

Winti is based on three principles: the belief in the supreme creator called Anana Kedyaman Kedyanpon; the belief in a pantheon of spirits called Winti; and the veneration of the ancestors. There is also a belief in Ampuku (also known as Apuku) which are anthropomorphic forest spirits. An Ampuku can possess people (both men and women) and can also pass itself off as another spirit.[1] Ampuku can also be water spirits, and are known in such cases as Watra Ampuku.[2]

C. Wooding (a Winti expert) described Winti in 1972 as: "...an Afro American religion, within which the belief in personified supernatural beings occupies a central position. These personified supernatural beings can take possession of a human person, switch off their consciousness, as it were, and thereby reveal things concerning the past, present and future as well as cause and/or heal illnesses of a supernatural nature."[3]

Another Winti expert (H.J.M. Stephen, 1985) described Winti as: "...primarily a religion, which means that respect for the divine, worship and prayer are central. In addition, it has a strong magical aspect, which often has been emphasized too one-sidedly and unfairly. Magic involves the influence of earthly events by supernatural means."

History

During slavery, members of various West African tribes were brought to Suriname. They came from kingdoms that had certain religious aspects in common, like the belief in a supreme creator God, who lives far away from the people, leaving the world to less-powerful gods or spirits, and the belief in an immortal human soul and the related ancestor worship.

After the abolition of slavery in 1863, a ten-year period of economic slavery followed known as "De Periode van Staatstoezicht" (The Period of State Supervision). It ended in 1873 and was followed by a very long period of mental and cultural slavery. The former slaves and their descendants were forced to convert to Christianity, and for nearly 100 years (1874–1971), practicing Winti was forbidden by law. They were also forced to speak Dutch; education in their own language, Sranan Tongo, was forbidden; and children were not allowed to speak Sranan Tongo in schools.

After the turn of the millennium, Winti gained momentum. In 2006, the Surinamese government incorporated the Winti interest foundation Tata Kwasi ku Tata Tinsensi into the database of religious organisations. In 2011 the first two Winti marriage officials were appointed. Winti priests were appointed informally already, but still without legal status. In 2014 Dorenia Babel became the first person officially recognized as Winti priest, appointed by the government in order to develop winti in the public realm. In 2019 psychiatrist Glenn Helberg made a public call to the Suriname-based Christian denominations to consider Winti as an equal religion.

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Atlantic slave trade

Atlantic slave trade

The Atlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, or Euro-American slave trade involved the transportation by slave traders of enslaved African people, mainly to the Americas. The slave trade regularly used the triangular trade route and its Middle Passage, and existed from the 16th to the 19th centuries. The vast majority of those who were transported in the transatlantic slave trade were people from Central and West Africa that had been sold by other West Africans to Western European slave traders, while others had been captured directly by the slave traders in coastal raids; Europeans gathered and imprisoned the enslaved at forts on the African coast and then brought them to the Americas. Except for the Portuguese, European slave traders generally did not participate in the raids because life expectancy for Europeans in sub-Saharan Africa was less than one year during the period of the slave trade. The colonial South Atlantic and Caribbean economies were particularly dependent on labour for the production of sugarcane and other commodities. This was viewed as crucial by those Western European states which, in the late 17th and 18th centuries, were vying with one another to create overseas empires.

Suriname

Suriname

Suriname, officially the Republic of Suriname, is a country on the northeastern Atlantic coast of South America. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the north, French Guiana to the east, Guyana to the west, and Brazil to the south. At just under 165,000 square kilometers, it is the smallest sovereign state in South America.

Dutch language

Dutch language

Dutch is a West Germanic language spoken by about 25 million people as a first language and 5 million as a second language. It is the third most widely spoken Germanic language, after its close relatives German and English. Afrikaans is a separate but somewhat mutually intelligible daughter language spoken, to some degree, by at least 16 million people, mainly in South Africa and Namibia, evolving from the Cape Dutch dialects of Southern Africa. The dialects used in Belgium and in Suriname, meanwhile, are all guided by the Dutch Language Union.

Sranan Tongo

Sranan Tongo

Sranan Tongo is an English-based creole language that is spoken as a lingua franca by approximately 550,000 people in Suriname.

The soul

It is believed that a human being has three spiritual aspects, the Dyodyo, Kra, and Yorka. Through these aspects human beings are integrated into the supernatural world. The Dyodyo are the supernatural parents who protect their children and may be higher or lower spirits. They received the pure soul, the Kra, from Anana and give that to a child. The Kra and Dyodyo determine your reason and mentality, while the biological parents provide blood and the physical body. Yorka, the other spiritual part, absorbs the life experiences. After the death of the physical body, the Kra goes back to the Dyodyo and the Yorka goes to the realm of the dead.

Pantheons

There are four pantheons or groups.

  • 1. The earth pantheon with the Goron Winti.
  • 2. The water pantheon with Watra Winti.
  • 3. The forest pantheon with Busi Winti.
  • 4. The sky pantheon with Tapu Winti.

Certain groups of maroons also distinguish a fifth pantheon, the realm of the death.

The earth pantheon

  • Aisa
  • Loko
  • Leba
  • Fodu
  • Luangu
  • Grong-Ingi

The water pantheon

  • Watra Ingi
  • Watra Kromanti

The forest pantheon

  • Busi Ingi
  • Ampuku
  • Kantasi
  • Adumankama

The sky pantheon

  • Opete or Tata Ananka Yaw
  • Sofia-Bada
  • Awese
  • Aladi
  • Gisri
  • Tando
  • Gebry
  • Adjaini

Source: "Winti", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2022, November 26th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winti.

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Bibliography
  • Wooding, Ch.J. (1984) Geesten genezen. Ethnopsychiatrie als nieuwe richting binnen de Nederlandse antropologie. Groningen: Konstapel.
  • Stephen, H.J.M. (1983). Winti, Afro-Surinaamse religie en magische rituelen in Suriname en Nederland. Amsterdam: Karnak.
  • Stephen, H.J.M (1986). De macht van de Fodoe-winti: Fodoe-rituelen in de winti-kultus in Suriname en Nederland. Amsterdam: Karnak.
  • Stephen, H.J.M. (1986). Lexicon van de Winti-kultuur. Naar een beter begrip van de Winti-kultuur. Z.pl.: De West.
See also
References
  1. ^ Rijksuniversiteit te Utrecht Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (1979). Nieuwe West-Indische gids. Vol. 53–55. Nijhoff. p. 14.
  2. ^ Wim Hoogbergen (2008). Out of Slavery: A Surinamese Roots History. LIT Verlag Berlin-Hamburg-Münster. p. 215. ISBN 9783825881122.
  3. ^ Wooding, Ch.J. (1972). Winti: een Afroamerikaanse godsdienst in Suriname; een cultureelhistorische analyse van de religieuze verschijnselen in de Para. Meppel: Krips.
External links

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