Every year the city of London hosts the Notting Hill Carnival, I was fortunate enough to be here for the 50th anniversary of it! Notting Hill is a celebration of the Caribbean people that live in London, ranging anywhere from Trinidad and Jamaica, to Saint John and Barbuda. It celebrates the abolition of slavery and the slave trade.
While the festivities are held for two days (Sunday and Monday), I went Monday since it is the main day with the parade. Just a few tube stops away, I got there before it started. Millions of people crowded the streets from all over the world just to see this celebration. I was in shock at how great the performances were and how long the parade actually was. One thing that stood out to me was that although we were celebrating Caribbean people, the celebration truly included everyone. I saw Asians in the festival, many different types of Europeans and even myself, a Mexican American, was taken out to dance with them.
There were also many street vendors selling all types of food, I bought a hot dog and some chips (or fries as they are known in the United States). There were police present to make sure everyone was safe (and no, they don’t carry guns here).
The music ranged from hip hop and reggae,to soca. Everyone was dancing and having a great time. The traditional costumes they wore were beautiful. They reminded me of going to Carnival in the San Francisco Mission district.
If you’re ever in London for the last weekend of August, make the trip up to Notting Hill and experience this beautiful festival for yourself!