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If you don’t know ‘Carnival,’ where you been?

Notting Hill is one of the biggest street carnivals in the World, overtaken only by Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. With 2 million visitors over the August Bank Holiday Weekend, Notting Hill Carnival this year will be more poignant due to the proximity of Grenfell Tower.

What is Carnival?

Revellers dance amongst the serious attendees who play ‘mas’ every year. Mas being the masquerade band with elaborate colourful costumes worn by the dancers, representing Caribbean culture.  Dedicated groups all over London plan their themes from a year in advance, then start to execute the designs of the costumes at the beginning of the following year. Each detail whether glitter or beading or feather is painstakingly applied by hand, to each outfit.

How did it all start?

From completely different backgrounds, Trinidadian Claudia Jones and part Russian part Native American Rhaune Laslett both had the same goal, to see unity in the community amidst the racial tensions by bringing together those from Africa, Eastern Europe, the Caribbean, Ireland and India during the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Jones organised the first indoor Caribbean Carnival, while Laslett, who was an established figure in the community, later organised an outdoor carnival in Notting Hill.

Food at carnival

No Caribbean celebration is complete without food. Whether you want the whole works – jerk pork or jerk chicken with rice and peas, or curry goat and rice with fried plantains; or maybe you want something tasty like a patty and coco bread while on the go? Notting Hill Carnival has it all. Washed down with rum punch or coconut water, this really is the place to sample the delights of the Caribbean.

Music at carnival

Like the food, music is a must. With sound systems playing Reggae, Soca, Calypso, RnB, Drum and Base, to name a few, visitors will be spoilt for choice.

If you can’t get to Notting Hill, but want to sample delicious food while listening to your favourite soca tracks, come along to Rudie’s this weekend. There may not be any dancing police men, but you’re guaranteed a warm welcome.