There’s always carnival in Berlin… at least that’s what people say (yeah, quoting Taylor Swift here). And they’re not too wrong: Berlin is loud, colorful (exept on those aweful rainy November days – they don’t count) and there is ALWAYS a party going on somewhere. Just like carnival in Rio or Mardi Gras in New Orleans. But once a year over the Whitsunday Weekend the city turns into a real and foremost multicultural carnival: it’s “Karneval der Kulturen”.
Karneval der Kulturen means 4 days of music, dancing, costumes, glitter, food and drinks. Therewith it shows perfectly the diverse side of Berlin – all nationalities come together and party, eat and drink on the streets of Kreuzberg around the douzens of stages and streetfood stands. The big parade on Sunday is my personal highlight – that’s when a German grandma shakes her hips in a nice samba costume next to Brazilian dancers, when kids are amazed by the Chinese show and their huge orange paper dragon and when cool Berlin hipsters watch the parade from their windowsills while throwing confetti on the spectators on the street.
Showing the diversity of Berlin
The wagons of the parade (this year over 70!) are fondly decorated by different organisations – from dancing schools to charitable associations – and roll along the route in walking pace, accompanied by professional and amateur dancers, artists, DJ’s, jogglers, acrobats or just a euphoric crowd which is following their favorite wagon. It’s a party for everyone who enjoys diversity and fun, no matter where you’re from or how old you are. But diversity is more than waving flags, wearing feather costumes and drumming on local instruments – this event is a great platform to spread messages. And so you see participants holding up signs that say ‘peace for the world’ or a wagon with Syrian refugees who have the chance to be a part of this big festival – let’s hope they get treated as integrated as during this parade everyday.
Walking, watching, dancing, Cuba Libre – repeat.
We had years when it was so hot that the only aim was to find a spot on the route where there are trees, so you can stand in the shade while watching the parade roll by. This year we had funny weather mix of rain, wind and sun with an up and down of temperatures every 10 minutes. But who cares!? Apparently nobody because the streets were packed and I had a good time as well. Walking, watching, dancing, Cuba Libre – repeat. And finally some african food at the festival area around Blücherplatz where you can get so many good dishes, especially from Africa and Latin America!
Now the festival is over and we have to wait until next year to dance on the street again and watching people in colorful costumes… just joking – I live in Berlin, there is always carnival!