Channeling Celiz Cruz here, I want to write a post about the “Karnival der Kulturen” that took place here in Berlin last weekend. Or, to be more specific, the one that took place down the street from my house. Therefore I really had no excuse not to go (as if anyone needs an excuse to go to a carnival). In hindsight, I’m glad I went: despite the immense crowds and lack of any real space to move, it was an awesome experience.
Pictured above: Hoards of people
My friend and I started out the afternoon by grabbing a bite to eat. Since this carnival is dedicated very literally to the sharing of cultures, we decided to grab a falafel. However, there wasn’t really anywhere to sit down, so we ended up standing next to the falafel tent and enjoying our lunch that way. This proved quite difficult because a falafel is not necessarily the easiest thing to eat, and I ended up spilling a third of mine on the ground. I would have been irritated, but all I could think about was how happy I made some pigeon, since it probably thought it hit the jackpot when it found the remains of my lunch.
But anyways, simply being at and observing the behavior of everyone at the carnival made for an entertaining afternoon. Throughout the course of the day I saw a full range of participants: families with children, couples out on a date, groups of friends, parade-onlookers, parade-onlookers who randomly decided to join in, and lots of spontaneous dancers. There were a couple of times when I was invited to dance, but I was too busy observing it all to take part.
Unlike these people, I was not brave enough to take part in the parade.
My friend and I bounced around quite a bit since the parade was somewhat slow-moving due to the vast amounts of people. However, it involved floats and groups featuring cultures from the Amazons to China to Peru to Thailand, among others. All in all I felt it was an awesome way for the people of Berlin to get together and celebrate this city’s multiculturalism. There was nothing quite like seeing the crowd dance along to music from the “Bengalisches Kulturforum” (Bengali Cultural Forum) and then just as eagerly to “12Volt & Friends”.
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<p>My name is Ali, and I'm a Political Economy major at the University of Southern California (Trojans!). Ever since I was a little kid and found out that there was such a thing as "study abroad", I dreamed about doing it. I'd stare at the famous Midwestern cornfields and wonder what it would take to go see the world. I loved the idea of picking up and leaving everything, even if it was only for a short while. Now, I'm living the dream and studying abroad in Berlin, Germany.</p>