Notting Hill Carnival
The Notting Hill Carnival originated in 1966, it is the most magnificent street culture festival in Europe. The Carnival will be held on the last weekend at the end of August, Ladbroke Grove, in West London. It will last from Sunday to Monday, including the Bank Holiday. Notting Hill Carnival is all about Caribbean and African culture, and is highly symbolic of the huge range of cultures within the United Kingdom.
The grand scale of the Notting Hill Carnival makes it one of the most famous festivals in London. It attracts a huge number of tourists every year and is renowned for its rich Caribbean atmosphere. The Notting Hill Carnival represents freedom and fluidity, it is the opportunity for people to be as eccentric as they like and wear extravagant garments! And for the music, the potency of the steel drum band, the song of Caribbean, and the Soca music are the heart and soul of the Nottingham carnival. The tropical ring of the steel drum is what creates the Caribbean theme of the Carnival. The lyrics of the Calypso songs will always change on the basis of the latest political and social hot topics, but the theme of the music, humorous irony and tropical vibe will be the recurring theme of Notting Hill Carnival.
Carnival can be divided into three parts: there will be a unique steel drum show and competition on the first day. They use steel drums made with gasoline barrels as instruments, aiming to attract local Caribbean immigrants to remind them not to forget their hometown. The second day is one for children in particular, to enjoy. Children in the community are dressed up beautifully and painted with greasepaint on their faces to enjoy the eccentricity that comes with Carnival. On the third day, the carnival reaches its climax. The procession will be festively singing and dancing on several streets of Notting Hill. It is an opportunity for all the attendees of the festival to just let loose and enjoy themselves. DJs come from all over the world heartily play various kinds of music, such as coronet, soca, samba and so on.
Besides enjoying the music, trying multicultural foods is another integral part of the Notting Hill Carnival. The committee will issue a notice in advance at that time every year so that those stallholders who intend to provide food can sign up early and have enough time to prepare delicious food. This food can consist of roast chicken and curry mutton in Caribbean style, other Caribbean classics, like curry goat or even African dishes, like jollof rice. This selection of foods makes the whole street will smell really amazing!
Whether it is your first time in the United Kingdom or if you have lived here for years, you don’t want to miss out on this amazing event. Just join in the carnival, release your energy and be you!
Words by Isabel Jiang