If ethnic groups from other countries had not settled in Britain, the
country would have been deprived of some of its more colourful festivals.
Notting Hill Carnival
If you walk through the inner London suburb of Notting Hill on the last weekend in
August, you will find yourself among one of the largest carnival celebratoins
in Europe. Its origins can be traced back to Trinidad , and to 1833 in particular, when the prohibition on
Blacks gathering in large numbers was removed. This prohibition had meant that
black slaves had been forbidden by law to take part in the European-style
carnivals which the white population held. When the ban was lifted and
the slaves were freed, black Caribbeans started their own carnival, with songs,
dances and costumes that reflected their own culture. Since then, Carnival has
become a strong Caribbean tradition, particulary in Trinidad.
When the number of West Indians in the UK
increased sagnificantly in the early 1960s, members of the Trinidadian community
decided to organise their own festival.
Today the Carnival attracts
over one-and-a-half to two million people during the three days, and every sort
of music is played from African drumming to House. It is a celebration for
Chinese New Year
The Chinese New Year is the
most important date of the year for the Chinese. The festival takes place at
the beginning of February and celebrates the earths rebirth with the arrival of
spring. Houses are cleaned out and decorated with lanterns, and incense is
burned. Fireworks help to keep away the evil spirits. The New Year dinner is
seafood and dumplings and people usually wear something red, which also keeps
away evil spirits.
Anyone can join in the
celebrations in London.
A huge dragon dances through the streets and there are stalls selling craftwork
Many British-born Chinese moved out of the area years later, the local
council transformed Chinatown into a tourist
attraction. Today, the streets have Chinese sign and pagoda-like phone booths.
Chinatown is full of all sorts of restaurants, food stores and specialist
stores and specialist stores not just from China
but all over the Far East: from Thailand,
Indonesia, Japan and Hong Kong.