European Carnival Guide
Carnival season in Europe is about to begin!
We love the carnival culture where people from different cultures come together to celebrate our cultural differences.
You get the chance to taste a diversity of foods and flavors from all corners of the world in one place, while hearing the rhythms of the Caribbean played by the MAS (masquerade) bands playing on their drum and steel pans or the DJ’s playing Soca, Calypso, Reggae, Dancehall, Dub music from their Soundsystems.
Where did the “carnival” come from?
According to some historians, the carnival was originally a Greek spring festival in honor of the god of wine, Dionysus. The Romans adopted the same tradition with a feast in honor of Bacchus, the Roman god of wine, and Saturnalia. On this day master and slaves exchanged clothes a midst a day full of drunken revelry. The Roman Catholic Church in Italy started the tradition of holding a wild costume festival right before the first day of Lent. Because Catholics are not supposed to eat meat during Lent, they called their festival, carnevale — which means “to put away the meat.” As time passed, carnivals in Italy became quite famous; and in fact the practice spread to France, Spain, and all the Catholic countries in Europe. As the French, Spanish, and Portuguese began to take control of the Americas and other parts of the world, they brought with them their tradition of celebrating carnival. However, what evolved is a mass celebration of indulgences in music, dance, food, and drink, something which the Church did not have in mind.
Plan your trip to Europe with a carnival and get a taste of the Caribbean.
Scroll down to see the upcoming carnivals and the Carnival + Party deals we offer.
The Karnaval der Kulturen (Carnival of Cultures) is a four-day urban festival that reflects Berlin’s many faces. With a free and open program, Karneval celebrates Diversity.
During KdK, the public space gets transformed into a place for self-(re)presentation and play with cultural identities.
Music and dance groups, professional and amateurs, children and adults take part in the parade through Kreuzberg. From anarchic performance over traditional dances to mash-up and remix; from high- to popular-, in KdK culture has many meanings.
On the street-fest stages and the off-stages, world-renowned and up-and-coming bands and artists perform a variety of music styles: from reggae over chanson to classical sitar-music.
When the night falls the After-parties starts:
The Rotterdam Summer Carnival is part of a bigger three-day city event called Robin Rotterdam Unlimited.
During Robin Rotterdam Unlimited the city will be THE hotspot of the Netherlands. Multiple stages in the whole city centre, (international) performances and acts on every street corner, the Summer carnival Street Parade and more will decorate the entire city! Dance, hiphop, latin, poetry, art, folk, world music.
Pre and After Parties:
Every year the streets of West London come alive, with the sounds and smells of Europe’s biggest street festival. Twenty miles of vibrant colorful costumes surround over 40 static sound systems, hundreds of Caribbean food stalls. Over 40,000 volunteers and over 1 million Notting Hill carnival revelers.
Starting its life as a local festival set up by the West Indian community of the Notting Hill area, it has now become a full-blooded Caribbean carnival, attracting millions of visitors from all over the globe. With many astonishing floats and the sounds of the traditional steel drum bands, scores of massive sound systems plus not forgetting the hundreds of stalls that line the streets of Notting Hill. The Notting Hill Carnival is arguably London’s most exciting annual event.
Pre and After Parties (more info & deals coming soon):