...and 10 of the rest carnivals and festivals
• Oktoberfest, Munich, Germany: Bavaria’s famous celebration of beer is almost 200 years old and is a huge fair. Around six million people visit the 16-day event every year, drinking five million litres of beer.
September 22-October 7, 2012: www.oktoberfest.de/en/
• Calgary Stampede, Alberta, Canada: Over one million revellers join in 10 days of rodeo and Western fun as the “Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth” hits Cowtown. This year is the event’s centenary. See it with Trek America (www.trekamerica.com).
July 6-15, 2012: www.calgarystampede.com
• Notting Hill Carnival, London: Originally started as an offshoot of the Trinidad Carnival in 1964, Notting Hill’s annual street party over two days of August Bank Holiday is now an extravaganza of Masquerade bands, elaborate costumes, dancing and food, attended by around one million people each year.
August 26-27, 2012: www.nottinghill-carnival.co.uk
• Junkanoo, Bahamas: The spectacular annual Junkanoo parade kicks off at 2am on Boxing Day with thousands of participants wearing dazzling crepe paper and cardboard costumes dancing their way through the streets on Nassau and other towns to the rhythms of drums, cowbells, whistles and horns until around 10am.
December 26, 2012: www.bahamas.co.uk/about-the-bahamas/junkanoo
• Venice Carnival, Italy: Intricate and colourful Venetian masks form the centrepiece of the city’s pre-Lent celebrations, when up to 30,000 visitors come to watch the spectacle. Events include shows, concerts, recitals and a grand competition for the best masks.
February 4-21, 2012: www.carnivalofvenice.com
• Carnival, Dominican Republic: With origins dating back to 1520, Dominican Carnival is a tradition inherited from Spanish forefathers and each city has a unique celebration with parades every Sunday during February. A variety of carnival masks is on display, including the grotesque Diablo Cojuelos, who come out onto the streets swinging their weapons and cracking their whips.
February 5-27, 2012: www.godominicanrepublic.com
• Up Helly Aa, Shetlands mainland, Scotland: Shetland’s biggest fire festival, Up Helly Aa, celebrates Shetland’s history with a series of re-enactments and marches, culminating in a torch-lit procession and Viking galley burning. There is no postponement for weather; despite being held in mid-winter on the same latitude as southern Greenland, Up Helly Aa has never been cancelled.
January 31, 2013: www.scotlandsislands.com/festivals-events/info/434/up-helly-aa
• August Festival, British Virgin Islands: Nowhere is the British Virgin Islands’ diverse culture more evident than during the August Festival on Tortola. Also known as Emancipation Festival Days, it celebrates the BVI’s African-Caribbean heritage and the abolition of slavery in 1834 and is a colourful display of dancing troupes, calypso and steelpan bands, pageant queens, donkey races, fishing contests, street vendors, elaborate costumes and electrifying Mocko Jumbies on stilts.
July 27-August 12, 2012: www.bvitourism.com
• Dominica Carnival, Dominica: Considered by many as one of the most authentic experiences in the Caribbean, Dominica’s Carnival, or The Real Mas, is a feast of sights and sounds and the most festive season on the island. It is a unique mix of calypso, shows and two exciting days of street jump-up with thousands of locals and visitors taking to the streets of Roseau.
February 21-22, 2012: www.discoverdominica.com
• Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival Toronto, Canada: Every summer, Toronto blazes with the excitement of calypso, steelpan and elaborate masquerade costumes during the annual Caribbean carnival formerly known as Caribana, which celebrates its 45th anniversary in 2012. Thousands of brilliantly-costumed masqueraders and dozens of trucks carrying live soca, calypso, steelpan, reggae and salsa artists jam the 1.5 km parade route all day.
July 10-August 12, 2012 (parade is on August 4): www.torontocaribbeancarnival.com
Do you agree with our choices? Or do you have any suggestions for other carnivals or fiestas? Let us know by responding on our Facebook page, or by emailing us on email@example.com. If you have a picture of the carnival or festival in question, you can also send it to us.
Please put the following in the Subject box: 10 of the Best Carnivals and Festivals.
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1234.jpg – Dancers at Junkanoo, Bahamas.
1235.jpg – Notting Hill Carnival, London.
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