Notting hill carnival is one of the most exciting annual events of the year in terms of its incredible displays of colour, dance, food and unity. Attracting over one million people each year, it is led by the British West Indian community. Carnival is such an iconic event it’s earn its place amongst one of the largest street festivals in Europe.
Carnival originates from Caribbean culture and the carnivals held after the abolition of slavery. The carnivals held primarily inTrinidad would involve Trinidadians dressing up in costume and parodying European clothing and style; an element known as Mas (short for Masquerade.) Running since 1966, Carnival costumes have drifted from their mockery origins and now stand as a tradition, the elaborate 15,000 handmade costumes take 1 million hours to create and decorate.
The parade is where the amazing outfits, music and floats are showcased. Carnival goers have the opportunity to either watch in awe or walk along with the parade. The streets of Kensington are alive with a sense of community; however, sadly Carnival repeatedly gets bad coverage in the media due to its high crime rates, a blow to heritage of Carnival which was to create peace and abolish angst between the caribbean community and the brits. Sadly, it is also held near the site of Grenfell tower so I’m sure there will be a warming tribute to those who lost their lives.
I have only been to Carnival once when I was younger and I remember enjoying some delicious jerk chicken and rice n peas and loving the lavish outfits. Every year I look forward to looking through the highlights of the outfits. One thing I especially love is that it’s like a catwalk for everyone who has the confidence to walk the parade. The confidence the women have to get their bodies out in such beautiful but… small costumes is something I aspire to have one day.