It’s Notting Hill Carnival this weekend and we’re more than excited for two days of roadside Reggae, mouth-watering street food and good vibes all around. But Notting Hill is just one of many flamboyant street festivals that you just have to attend at least once in your life! We’ve rounded up the best of the best and added them straight to our bucket list. Don’t ask us to pick our favourite…
1. Carnival of Rio de Janeiro
With over three million people attending each year, the colourful Carnival of Rio de Janeiro can only be described as the OG of all street parties and is easily the most popular. More than 200 samba schools (a.k.a. a group of neighbours or friends who want to attend the carnival together) spill into the streets dressed in the most extraordinary carnival attire and party all day and night. Yes, they go big in Brazil.
2. Mardi Gras
In the UK we treat ourselves to a few pancakes on Shrove Tuesday. The people of New Orleans, however, take things to a whole new level with Mardi Gras. It translates to ‘Fat Tuesday’ and was traditionally a day to indulge in rich foods before the lean days of lent. Now, it’s the finale of two weeks of exuberant parades that start in January. Creative carnival costumes are expected, good food is mandatory and you’ll find everyone wearing the beads that are thrown from the floats!
3. Trinidad and Tobago Carnival
Say goodbye to January blues – this carnival kicks off just after Christmas and brings a thrilling mix of parties and competitions to the streets of Trinidad and Tobago! Back in the period of slavery when slaves weren’t allowed to attend their master’s balls, they held their own celebrations and over time these grew to become one of the greatest annual celebrations in the world. Dance to Calypso tunes and raise a glass to freedom!
4. Venice Carnival
Venice Carnival is perhaps one of the most enchanting celebrations of all! Guests and performers don baroque costumes and sail on gondolas down the Grand Canal. Masked entertainers descend on St. Marks Square and put on shows on street corners. If you thought it couldn’t get any more elaborate, the highlight of the festival is a hugely hedonistic and exclusive Grand Masquerade Ball. Tickets start at £500 – a girl can dream…
5. Notting Hill Carnival
Last but certainly not least…Notting Hill Carnival has been brightening up the streets of West London since the 1960s. It first started as an offshoot of the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival and is all about celebrating London’s thriving Caribbean history and culture. Expect Reggae, Calypso and dub beats to be played from roadside sound systems all day long and definitely don’t miss out on the delicious Caribbean street food.