There are many ways to enjoy the laid back and vibrant culture of the Caribbean without grabbing parking at Gatwick Airport before hopping on a plane and heading there yourself. Of course, if you get the opportunity you really have to take part in that to truly understand the spirit of the people and the way of life, but as many people who travel to the Caribbean only stay in resorts or visit the same countries each time, it may be easy to miss out on seeing the real thing.
Thankfully, there are some great festivals taking place in the summer where you can eat traditional food, take part in Caribbean activities and be thoroughly entertained by amazing performances and parades. Take a look below at just a few of the examples of festivals and if you happen to be in the area around this time, try to attend – you won’t regret it!
Having its roots in a celebration of the abolition of slavery, Notting Hill Carnival is tied very strongly to the carnival atmosphere in Trinidad that still continues to this day. From parades in the streets of Notting Hill to jerk chicken and curried goat inflaming your senses in mouth watering delight, you won’t be short on things to do during this amazing celebration of Caribbean culture. If you wonder why everyone seems to be flooding to Notting Hill at the end of August, this is the very reason!
Caribana – Toronto
Now known officially as the Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival, to many it will always be Caribana. Held as North America’s largest street festival and taking place each year at the beginning of August around the local Civic Holiday (first monday in August), Caribana sees around 2 million visitors. Here you can enjoy steel pan music, soca and calypso while getting out amongst the people and feeling the incredible energy that seems to radiate everywhere. Running every year since 1967, it is one of the longest running festivals and only grows stronger each year!
West Indian Carnival – New York
The Labor Day Parade in New York City is held every year on the first Monday in September and one of the highlights is the West Indian Day Parade. Known for its colourful costumes and infectious music that is common to all celebrations of Caribbean culture, this event draws well over one million participants. As New York is home to a diverse and proud culture from many regions all over the world, it’s not surprising that this parade draws people of all walks of life in; after all, what’s not to love about the Caribbean?
Regardless of where you are this year, there is likely to be a celebration of Caribbean culture somewhere near you. If you’ve never been, see what you’re missing out on – you won’t regret it.