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Anansi-Tori

by Micha F. Lindemans
The Anansi stories. It is a generic term among the Surinam negroes for the vast body of spider stories which originated in West Africa. These stories vary little in bush and urban versions. The Ashanti call these Anansasem.

The people from Paramaribo (Surinam) include the Anansi-tori as an important feature of their death-rites, especially on the eighth night after a death. They are never told in daytime by anyone, lest the dead come and listen and their proximity cause the death of the narrator or his parents.

The Saramaca Bush-negroes tell these stories to the dead during the seven days a body lies in the village death house awaiting burial. The stories are entertainment for the dead and are therefore very important. Because of this importance, the terms has become extended to include the dances for the ancestors and the songs sung during these rites.


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