London isn’t all about afternoon tea with scones, umbrellas and wellington boots. In my person view, London is the place where cultures from all over the world meet and you can have a glimpse of everything your eyes are ready to see. I’ve been on a mission to show you its many faces and I can’t miss mentioning the Noting Hill Carnival.
Held each August Bank Holiday since 1964, the Notting Hill Carnival is the largest festival celebration of its kind in Europe. It originated as a way for Caribbean communities to celebrate their own cultures and traditions. To this day the streets of West London continue coming alive every year with an amazing array of sounds, colourful sights and social solidarity…
At the roots of the Notting Hill Carnival are the Caribbean carnivals of the early 19th century – a particularly strong tradition in Trinidad – which were all about celebrating the abolition of slavery and the slave trade. The very first carnival was an attempt to showcase the steel band musicians who played in the Earls Court of London every weekend. When the bands paraded through the streets of Notting Hill, they drew residents out on to the streets, reminding them of the Caribbean homes they had left behind.
Looking for inside information about the carnival, I had the pleasure to meet the lovely ladies from M2K. Masquerade 2000 (M2K) has been established in the distant 1992 as a carnival arts organisation. It has since flourished into a multifaceted arts company raising the profile of carnival across the globe. Supported by the Arts Council England and volunteers, M2K tours magnificent costumers across the UK and Europe, appears in TV adverts, films and major events including the Notting Hill Carnival. They also hold carnival workshops with schools, colleges and universities and collaborate with art groups.
If you have ever been tempted by the music rhythms and wanted an unforgettable experience, M2K would welcome you regardless age and dancing skill levels. For the Notting Hill Carnival 2014 M2K have been inspired to show the many forms of deep human emotions – Passions. Using colour, structure and symbolism, they will reflect those strong and intense emotions all humans experience in life, such as Love, Rage, Desire, Envy, Joy, etc.
Desire: “A strong yearning to have something. It is asserted that human desire is the fundamental motivation of all human action.” Gold denotes wealth and prestige in every country, culture and market in the world hence the choice of jewels, pearls and gems.
Love: “Arguably the deepest of all emotions and often influences decisions over the mind.” This section is symbolised by hearts and uses red and golden colour scheme.
Rapture: “Let us take you to cloud nine, on a journey to heaven.” This blue section represents euphoria and joy. The costume is inspired by the Macaw bird as a symbol of flying through the sky and freedom.
Rage: “Hell hath no fury like a woman’s scorn.” This section is an all woman’s section (No men, no children) and invites women to “choose a weapon” as part of their costume. It’s been designed in purple and black.
The Notting Hill Carnival packages offered by M2K vary between £150-305 – subject to options and membership.