London Mela- Gunnersbury Park
The London Mela is a festival inspired by South Asian culture. It is split in to 9 different zones which make it a perfect event for the whole family! Your children can spend their time at the giant funfair whilst adults can try cuisine from around the world and listen to some lovely classical music, or even have a laugh with the comedy acts! Mela also includes contemporary and new music alongside DJs, street arts and dance acts.
Through all this excitement it is vital to remember the main act of London Mela. The carnival! It involves hundreds of participants including live music from acts like Dhol Academy and the Bollywood Brass Band. These bands combined with the motorised elephant and other animals provide entertainment as well as an array of colour, beauty and fun!
If you are interested in South Asian culture this is most definitely one of London’s carnivals not to be missed!
Date: Sunday 19th August 2012
Carnaval Del Peublo- Burgess Park
Carnaval Del Peublo is the largest Latin American outdoor festival in Europe representing 19 Latin American countries. The carnival is about dance and music and brings together all the Latinos and Latin American enthusiasts for a day of fun and celebration.
The carnival goers are provided with 4 different stages of music with over 30 international artists. There is no need to bring a picnic, the carnival has 4 large bars and 200 stalls with a variety of Latin American, Caribbean and other western food and drink. This provides plenty of choice and plenty of opportunities to try new food from different cultures. It all plays a part in the atmosphere of the carnival.
The main attraction is the carnival procession which provides 3 miles of entertainment and over 15 floats, all different and all as exciting as the last. Each float and outfit has been made specifically to mark 200 years of independence for much of Latin America. So join in and help celebrate their independence!
Date: 18th August 2012
Notting hill Carnival
The carnival started in 1964 and has since been a hit with thousands of carnival revellers. The standard 2 day festival may see an increase in the scale of the event this year, allowing it to be extended over the whole bank holiday weekend. The usual flow of events provides a more family friendly day on the Sunday
The festival provides sound systems to allow everybody to join in with the alfresco dancing and fully appreciate the strength and the floats that provide different bands such as mas and pan bands.
The crowds that gather are all there for the same reason: to enjoy a carnival and the celebrations that are provided with it.
Food stalls should not be missed, trying out new times of Caribbean food could get your taste buds flowing with their standard dishes served, such as jerk chicken and fried plantain. The main attraction is the procession and the beauty of the outfits that can be seen. The time spent on the outfits is ridiculous but the outcome if definitely worth it.
A carnival that should not be missed! It is well worth the visit just to see the colour and beauty that surrounds you.
Date: August 26-27
Rio de Janeiro Carnival
The carnival that is held in Rio is thought to be dated right back to 1723. It provides entertainment for over 2 million people per day of the 3 day carnival. It is held before lent each year. Vibrant and colourful costumes provide a sense of joy for carnival goers. Glitter, body paint and feathers are popular amongst many of the costumes.
The street carnival allows for floats specially built for the occasion by all divisions of Samba schools. The samba schools may be having fun and rehearsing, but it’s also seen as a competition where the highest scoring schools take pride in being in the special dance groups in the year after. This is an honour to them and allows the carnival to become something to work towards year after year.
It is fun watching the event, but even better being in the parade! All you need is a costume and you can get involved, it’s that easy!
Date: 9th-12th February 2013
Hosted in the tiny town of Sitges, 40 miles from Barcelona, this carnival is famous around the world, attracting visitors from all corners of the globe. The celebrations take place from the 6th until the 13th of February each year- a full seven crazy days of partying! The event attracts around 300,000 people each year, all of whom come to the sea-side town with the same aims in mind – to have a good time for the entirety of the week!
The Sitges Carnival brings much interest from the gay community and the event is known for its tolerance of all people, regardless of culture, origin or sexual orientation. The carnival seems to continue 24 / 7 and you can expect fun filled days to blend into crazy night time adventures.
Carnival of Venice
From the 26th of January until the 12th of February, the festival of Venice takes place in Italy. Every day you can follow the carnival on television from 11:00 – 23:00 – but why just watch when you can head down and take part? It is told that this carnival began in 1162 when people started dancing in the street following the victory of the “Repubblica della Serenissima”. Although it stopped for many, many years, the carnival was reintroduced in 1979 and today approximately 3 million people come to attend the party!
At the carnival of Venice, it is normal to see people in masks partying and dancing in the streets. The masks can be simple or extravagant and all things in between. Costumes are also commonplace and people will make a huge effort to dres up to attend balls, special dinners and all kinds of other events!
From the 7th to the 12th of February, Cologne, Germany, is the place to be! Although there are many aspects that make Cologne Carnival special, it is first and foremost a celebration of fancy dress! In this instance, the brighter you come dressed, the better! If you’re thinking about dressing up and heading to some events that make the carnival so exciting then make sure to book your tickets way in advance because they will sell out quickly!
If you’re busy dancing the day away on the street and a stranger somes up and gives you a kiss – then don’t be worried! This is a normal part of Cologne Carnival and is simply a gesture of acceptance and friendship – nothing more! This is a great place to come, have fun and make many new friends, year after year!