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Berlin’s Carnival of Cultures – 10-13 June, 2011

13/06/2011

This weekend Berlin celebrates its sixteenth Karneval der Kulturen (Carnival of Cultures) in its Kreuzberg district.  Since 1996 Berliners have come together for this multi-day event to celebrate the cultural diversity that is Berlin.

From what I have been able to gather, in the years following the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989, tensions among various ethnic and cultural groups began to rise.  It was this tension from which the need for a carnival celebrating diversity grew.

As the committee behind the event writes, the carnival is about “respect, tolerance and appreciation for all groups of society.”  The committee goes on to write, “Among the 3.4 million inhabitants of the German capital 450,000 do not have the German citizen-ship. Many more have a mixed ethnic background.”

In other words, Berlin has a strong mixed cultural heritage and has much to celebrate.

This year’s event runs Friday 10, June through Monday 13 June, thanks to the Monday religious Pentecost holiday.  (I must admit, my knowledge in this area is lacking.)

Yesterday was the parade portion of the festival in Kreuzgerg.  My intention was to get some good video and still shots of the ethnical and cultural costumes as the parade participants went by.  “The best laid plans of mice and men” rule took over, however, and I could not get to within about 50 feet of the parade route.

Instead, I decided to be content to take a few photos of the crowds along the adjacent streets.  This is a huge event, covering a lattice of many city streets.

The Carnival committee estimates approximately 1.3 million people attended the party in 2010.  I have no reason to believe that number was less this year.

The committee will post good quality photos and video on their website once they have had a chance to chew on them for a while.  Check back in a few days to their website at:  http://www.karneval-berlin.de/de/concept.180.html

In the meantime, here are a few photos I snapped myself.

This was the only parade group I managed to photograph.  The crowd was simply too large to get close enough for better photos and video.

(Tip:  Clicking a photo will bring up a larger version.  Clicking that version will bring up maximum size.)

For blocks and blocks in any direction, the streets were full of revelers.  (I must add that despite the large number of people, for the most part the crowd was very well behaved.)

    

    

There was spot for a little break dancing…

Native Americans were even represented…

The ultimate blending of religion and secular…

    

Yes, that was yours truly in that last photo.  😉

Until next time, my friends!  Happy Trails!

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