Every year, during the last weekend of August (a long weekend of three days since the following Monday is always a public holiday), the biggest carnival in Europe takes place in a district of the ” West London. This is the Notting Hill Carnival.
It was during the 60s (1959), in St Pancras, that the first carnival took place in order to symbolize peace and joy in the face of the racial tensions of the time. Racial riots even took place in August and September 1959 to illustrate the tensions among the population. Claudia Jones, a journalist from the city of Trinidad (Cuba) and political activist, organized this first carnival and it was a real success since it began as a small party between minorities and then turned into a huge Carnival Caribbean influences.
Today, Notting Hill Carnival usually begins on Saturday with a “steel band” (orchestra of musicians playing steel drums usually made from oil drums). The best bands from all over the UK compete on stage for 10 minutes to win the award for the “National Steel Drum Champion”. Sunday is reserved for children and the route of the parade is therefore shorter. You can also win a prize for your costume that same day.
Monday is the busiest day because the streets of West London come alive with the rhythm of steel band, Calypso bands and are associated with their appetizing food and alcohol shops. In fact, you can find more than 300 restaurants serving traditional Caribbean food. The influences and the cultures are varied (French, English, Italian, Dutch, Indian, Spanish or African), we offer you a wide range of menus, ranging from the famous “roti” (Indo-Caribbean dish made With meat and vegetables) to the spicy dried meat dish (pork or chicken) or just the fresh drink with coconut.
At nightfall, everyone continues to party in Notting Hill, even though the decorated carts have left the streets.
The Notting Hill Carnival, the second largest carnival in the world after Rio, is now a real institution. With its two million visitors, this huge party has quickly become the place to go.Everyone is invited!