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Carnival of Cultures puts Berlin's diversity on display

May 09, 2008

Germany’s capital city is home to five million people from over 180 nations. Walking through the city’s districts, a visitor can find shops selling foods and items from around the globe. The 13th Carnival of Cultures will bring together these varied ethnic communities from 9-12 May 2008 for music, food and international events.

Offering something for everyone, the Carnival of Cultures will feature a street parade, festival and even a children’s carnival organised by the Kreuzberger Musikalische Aktion during the four days of celebration. Its organisers refer to the events as “a four-day journey of the senses.”

The Carnival of Cultures developed from the growth in Berlin’s international population which transformed the capital into a world city. With around 450,000 foreign residents, Berlin has the most diverse population in Germany. The idea to create a carnival grew out of the various Berlin cultural initiatives.

The 11th May street parade in the Neukölln district will see Bolivian dancers, samba musicians, a traditional gamelan musical ensemble from Indonesia and floats with Cameroonian characters among other events. More than 4,500 people from 80 different countries will participate in the parade, most of whom now call Berlin home.

The street festival will be held daily from Friday, 9th May through Monday, 12th May. Besides Türkopop, Balkanbeat, Afroreggae and Latinrock bands, the festival will see acrobatic routines, more than 400 original stalls featuring handmade folk art and rows upon rows of international cuisine.

In a reference to the immigration debate that has taken place in Germany, t-shirts will be sold by the carnival committee featuring original combinations of some of the best slogans from leaders in politics and society.

The Carnival of Cultures is organised by the Werkstatt der Kulturen – the Berlin-based organising committee – which serves as a location for dialogue between nations, cultures and religions in the city. Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit and Maria Böhmer, Commissioner for Migration, Refugees and Integration, will serve as the Carnival’s official patrons.

At least 1.3 million visitors are expected to participate in the Carnival of Cultures festivities.

© Young Germany
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