In celebration of Caribbean Heritage Month, there are many carnivals happening everywhere bringing together island sounds, good food, and amazing people. I was fortunate to be invited to the Philly Carnival that took place on June 17, 2017.
The Greater Philadelphia Caribbean Culture Organization (GPCCO) hosted its third annual Caribbean carnival in Fairmont Park. You know, the famous park that Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince did the “Summer Time” video? Yeah, that one.
My family and I arose early in the morning unsure of whether or not we wanted to attend because of the rainy weather, but once we made up our minds that we wanted to go, we suited up in our tribal colors, packed up some water so we wouldn’t pass out from dehydration, and got on the road.
Immediately upon entrance, the energy from the dancers was electrifying; the music filled my ears and made me move my feet, and the spectators showed a pride in themselves that touched the heart.
There was so much excitement going on that I can write forever, but there are few things that I learned from this experience that I will never forget.
You don’t have to travel far for the fun
I was always under the impression that you had to travel to the Caribbean or New York in order to enjoy the carnival. There is usually a carnival in each city that has a heavy Caribbean population. Google is my friend, but you can also look into city events by checking your city’s website.
Many nations, one people
People from many islands were there to celebrate their cultural and national heritage. Guyanese, Trinidadian, Jamaican, Antiguan, Bahamian, and many other flags waved in the air with pride, while people danced together and showed love for each other.
Kindness warms the heart
If I smiled at someone they smiled back. There wasn’t any side eyeing or shade throwing during these festivities. Just plain ol’ kindness and respect.
The food is delicious
From options like jerk chicken, curry goat, oxtails and shrimp there was not an empty stomach at the carnival because there was no way you were leaving this event without some really good food! Very simple, yet delicious!
Rain doesn’t stop the party
For most people rain may end a party quickly, but not for those at the Caribbean carnival. People came together and danced in the pouring down rain as we were serenaded by the sounds of calypso steel drums and rump-shaking percussion.
Overall, carnival is a mood lifting event that leaves a long lasting impression on your mind and heart. Will you be attending the carnival in your city?
A special thank you to Kristina Hill of G-town radio for the invite.