This weekend, London was privilege to hosting the biggest street party in Europe, the world famous Notting Hill Carnival. Second in the world only to the carnival in Rio de Janeiro, this annual event always draws crowds in excess of one million people. The African & Caribbean-themed party is spread across two days, the first being children’s day on a Sunday which features toned down music and dancing for a more family friendly affair, to the main event on Bank Holiday Monday featuring the no-holds-barred ultimate party festivities!
Starting back in 1964, this is the 52nd Notting Hill Carnival this year. The parade is replicated in the same format every year as they already have it perfected down to a tee. Famous celebrities such as Wyclef Jean, Jamiroquai and rapper M.I.A to name a few, have all flown in especially to perform there. And from what I hear, the after parties can be every bit as wild and crazy as the carnival itself!
诺丁山狂欢节起源于1964年，今年是第52届。游行每年重复着相同的模式，许多DJ明星如Wyclef Jean, Jamiroquai 和 rapper M.I.A都赶过来这儿表演。我听说，晚上各个酒吧夜店的继续狂欢要比白天的街头游行更疯狂更热闹，呵呵。
In total, there are over 40 floats which make their way round a specific area of West London. These floats are basically trucks with mini music stages attached to the back of them. The music played ranges from traditional calypso to dancehall to modern day hip-hop. The bass is something that has to be experienced to be believed. The whole street is literally vibrating to the beats causing an amazing feeling in your body. Loved every second of it!
With this event attracting such a huge crowd, this can have the unfortunate side effect of a few unwanted acts of violence. So it was good to see the police out in force. I noticed that they didn't try to spoil people’s fun, but rather just stayed in the background overseeing all the activities. On some rare occurrences, they even got involved in the carnival frolics, like this now famous "twerked" police officer!
When I was there, the atmosphere was fun, friendly and very exciting! People would just come up to you and dance as well as you being able to join in their own parade celebrations. Joy and happiness to the max!
The costumes were absolutely incredible. The designs, the makeup, everything was first class. And for all you guys out there, there were literally half naked girls everywhere you turned, lol. But tastefully done I might add. People spent months in creating the most outrageous of the costume designs on show. The costumes themselves represent many historical themes showcasing the vibrant colours and exotic styles of the Caribbean and Trinidad, as well as highlighting some more serious issues like the abolition of slavery and the slave trade. Though I do love the way they mixed the messages of freedom and democracy through song and dance.
As well as enjoying the music, trying out some delicious Caribbean food on offer is a must. Lots of small stalls dotted the streets along the parade offering traditional Caribbean food, the most famous being Jerk chicken and goat curry, traditional Caribbean dishes. The smell of the barbecue food is guaranteed to make your mouth water.
(Above photo Monday just makes way for Tuesday, the cleaning process begins which is an unbelievable feat in itself, as you can imagine the rubbish left behind by over a million people. But, the local council, private cleaning services, even the residents of the streets surrounding the carnival all get to work to clear it all way. So, as people wake up the next morning for work, there will be almost no trace of what went on the day before. Simply astounding!
The Notting Hill Carnival is a thing of true beauty. For two days, it transforms the normal streets of London into the ultimate dance party that has an unparalleled sense of energy and thrills. People fly in from all over the world just to take part in this unique experience. Hopefully anyone travelling to London can book an August visit so they too can enjoy the biggest street party Europe has to offer!
1. You will need to do a lot of walking so wearing comfortable shoes is essential.
2. During the festival, many tube stations will be temporarily closed. Make sure you plan your travel route in advance.
3. Make sure you carry enough water and a carnival map for easy navigation of the various routes.
4. Be aware of your personal belongs all the times.
5. If you bring children, I suggest you go on a Sunday for the much more family friendly carnival experience. It is quieter and more relaxed.
5. 如果带儿童游览，建议在周日Family Day前往，这一天会有儿童组队游行，相比周一的活动更安静更放松。