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Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Carnivals of the World: Notting Hill Carnival

Colourful costumes at Notting Hill Carnival 2018

The theme of carnival in Santa Cruz de Tenerife for 2021 was announced as 'Carnivals of the World', so while we're waiting with baited breath to see if the world returns to any sort of normality by then for it to take place as planned, I thought we could see some pretty pictures and learn a little about some of those other carnivals of the world.

Notting Hill Carnival now claims to be the largest in Europe, although it will probably have to review that claim now that the UK isn't in Europe, with VisitLondon saying, "Expect to see some 50,000 performers in the parade and more than 30 sound systems, with more than one million people attending over the carnival weekend." These are probably a similar numbers to those of Santa Cruz Carnival over the ten days of carnival in the streets.

A Caribbean Carnival influenced predominently from the carnival in Trinidad, Notting Hill is not like all the others in that it takes place in August, rather than in the pre-lenten carnival period. This year's Notting Hill Carnival is yet to take place, scheduled for 30 and 31 August and organisers are 'hopeful' that situation will improve to enable it to go ahead.

UPDATE: Notting Hill Carnival cancelled due to Covid-19
The other striking difference, is in the policing at Notting Hill. Whilst the safety and emergency personnel who worked during the Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife in 2019comprised of almost 1,500 people (2020's numbers were equal), 13,020 police were deployed in Notting Hill in 2018, for only double the number of carnival-goers. We felt that the number of police in Santa Cruz was appropriate: enough to make you feel safe, not so many as to make you feel that they were there to stop you having a good time.

Image: David Sedlecký / CC BY-SA

Notting Hill Caribbean Carnival 2019 Grand Finale

There will be no Carnival in Santa Cruz de Tenerife in 2021, although the City Council is working with the Carnival groups in the design of some activities that can maintain the spirit of the festivities during the weeks in which it should have been celebrated