Finally! With countries easing (or completely removing) covid-19 restrictions around the world it looks like carnivals are back here to stay! Many countries from the UK all the way down to Puerto Rico have already greenlighted their major carnival celebrations, so we've made a list of some of the best Caribbean Carnival to take place throughout the world.
Notting Hill Carnival, United Kingdom
Every year in London, the Notting Hill Carnival is a massive street event. It's all about honouring Caribbean heritage, arts, and culture, which includes music, food, and dance.
This part of west London is the place to be over the August bank holiday weekend. Everyone is welcome to this carnival that features the sounds of calypso, soca, reggae, and dub from roadside sound systems. Notting Hill Carnival is also popular for their numerous caribbean food stalls. Bite into scrumptious jerk chicken straight from the spontaneous barbecues.
Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad is the Caribbean's most popular Carnival destination. What began as a means for the island's enslaved people to rejoice with their own version of European masquerade balls has grown into one of the Caribbean's largest yearly events. Carnival takes place in Trinidad on the Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, which is normally in March.
On the two days, party-goers from all over the globe line the streets in the most spectacular costumes, coat their bodies with oil, grease, chocolate, and mud as part of the holy rituals, and dance endlessly to steel drum bands' music. Although Port of Spain is the focus of all things Carnival in Trinidad, comparable celebrations can be seen across the twin-island country of Trinidad and Tobago.
Due to yearly celebrity appearances of Bajan artist Rihanna, Barbados Crop Over has become one of the most well-known Carnivals in the Caribbean. Crop Over started in Barbados in the 1700s as a big party to celebrate the conclusion of a good sugar cane crop. Despite the loss of the island's sugar cane economy, the celebration was revitalised and converted into what we now know as Crop Over. Crop Over takes place every June and lasts until the beginning of August, with The Grand Kadooment at the end.
The Toronto Caribbean Carnival, also known as Caribana, is an annual Caribbean Carnival celebration held in Toronto, Canada every summer. Caribana is the largest carnival festival in North America, with over a million people attending. Caribana is a festival that honours Caribbean culture. It's a mash-up of all of the Caribbean's diverse and colourful cultures. Caribbean music, cuisine, dancing, traditions, costumes, and, of course, partying are all celebrated during the Toronto Caribbean Carnival. It's a spectacular show of visual and performing arts!
Carnival in St. Lucia is a month-long celebration of provocative costumes, music, and the culture of the island. St. Lucia's Carnival was originally held during Lent, but it was later shifted to the summer to better accommodate tourists during the island's busiest season. Several parties and activities, including steel band contests, pageants, and a Junior Carnival, kick off the festivities in June. However, the last two days of Carnival, when the two-day costumes parade and Road March competition take place in mid-July, are anticipated by the majority of revellers and onlookers. Both men and women dress shabbily in outfits adorned with jewels, beads, and feathers and dance to soca, reggae, and calypso music.
The Jamaica Carnival has earned a reputation as one of the Caribbean's most popular and thrilling carnivals. In Jamaica, this carnival is known as 'Bacchanal,' and it combines all of the typical elements of a Caribbean Carnival with Jamaican music, cuisine, and energetic people. The Bacchanal celebrations take place in Ocho Rios and Kingston from March until the end of April, culminating in the "Bacchanal Road March." Locals and visitors alike dress up in costumes and dance in the streets or on branded trucks to the newest soca and dancehall sounds.