The Carnival of Cultures aims to transcend the boundaries between generations, genders and nationalities and give voice to hybrid cultural identities.
Inspired by events such as the Notting Hill Carnival in London and the Zomercarnaval in Rotterdam, the festival reflects the enormous cultural diversity of Berlin, home to 450,000 immigrants from more than 180 countries.
The Carnival of Cultures was launched in 1996 with the aim of combating racism. Two decades later, the problem of xenophobia and intolerance has still not been completely eradicated in Germany. Nevertheless, the Carnival of Cultures has developed into a great celebration of cultural differences, diversity and acceptance.
Over the years, the festival has gained momentum and expanded both its capacity and duration. Spectators and artists travel from as far as South America and Africa. It creates a framework for people from different backgrounds to come together and share their passions, ideas, hopes and dreams in a creative way with other open-minded people. The focus is placed on understanding, multiculturalism and tolerance. The result is thousands of inspiring participants and millions of enthusiastic viewers.
In the course of just ten years, the Carnival of Cultures has become an important event in the cultural calendar of the German capital. Today, the Carnival of Cultures is one of the six largest open-air events in Germany.
After a pandemic induced hiatus the Carnival of Culture returns to Berlin in 2023 from the 26th of May until the 29th of May. So be sure to check out Berlin when it's at its most colourful!
While the Carnival of Cultures takes place all over Berlin, most of the festivities take place around Blücherplatz in the famous Kreuzberg district. There are live performances on several stages, featuring an impressive selection of local and international artists, along with many food and drink stands and many stalls selling arts and crafts.
The music selection ranges from classical to reggae to dance and techno, something Berlin is world renowned for, ensuring that every visitor can find something to their liking.
In addition to the musical performances, there are also theatre shows and a variety of acrobats, stilt walkers, clowns and other street performers that you can see at the festival.
Any major event should end with a bang, and that's exactly what happens on Sunday the 28th of May at the Carnival of Cultures. On the last day, the climax of the festival, there will be a grand street parade showcasing the city's different cultures and their individual customs, dances and costume styles.
Be sure to join the parade starting from Hermanplatz to Yorkstraße around noon on Sunday and enjoy the pleasures of a diversified society. Experience dance groups from countries all over the world such as Korea and Japan, be on the lookout too for the samba dancers and any other culture that catches your eye.
It's a parade of cultural pride and a display of what makes each culture both unique and beautiful.
The parade itself is not the only thing worth seeing; the street festival around Blücherplatz also offers the opportunity to discover Berlin's cultural diversity at its best.
The street festival offers an amazing entertainment programme that is just as colourful as the cultures represented. The celebrations feature around 350 market stalls, theatres, performances and interactive shows. Visitors will also find information stands from companies and initiatives that work sustainably, as well as organic crêpes and treats.
Browse for art treasures, sample local cuisine and drink some of the world-famous German beers while enjoying live music and the unique atmosphere of the festival.
There is also an age-appropriate programme for families with children.
The parade and the street party are not enough for you? Don't worry, there are many more parties you can take part in! Many participating parade groups hold their own celebrations before and after the big events of the Carnival of Cultures.
The largest Afrobeat party community in Germany, Freak de l'Afrique, organises three different pre-parties at Metropol, Haubentaucher and Festsaal Kreuzberg. They are also organising a big afterparty at Haubentaucher. On 27 May you can also pre-party the parade at the Yaam right in front of the water.
The Carnival of Cultures is a true celebration of the diversity of humanity and is an experience you won't soon forget.