The Carnival of Cultures, which takes place in Berlin's Kreuzberg district, is a multicultural festival that has been celebrated around the Whitsun weekend every year since 1996. Berlin's vibrant carnival is an international, peaceful celebration of diversity, openness and tolerance, with parades, music, dance, theatre, exotic food and drink and all kinds of arts and crafts.
Ideas for a Berlin carnival had been around for a long time, but it was on 15 and 16 May 1996 that the first Carnival of Cultures transformed the Kreuzberg district into Germany's biggest multicultural hotspot. The event then expanded into a four-day festival and was moved to a different time of year. Since that happened, Whitsun in Berlin has been an extravaganza of exuberance featuring decorated carnival floats and people in fancy costumes, dramatic make-up and fantastic masks. From Friday to Monday the area around Blücherplatz in Kreuzberg becomes one very happy, loud and lavish party. World music – some familiar, some distinctly new, and all 'made in Berlin' – is performed on four stages. The Rasen in Aktion is a hive of creativity featuring theatre, performances and interactive goings-on. Add to that an exciting children's programme plus food, drink and crafts at almost 400 stalls. But the real highlight of the carnival is the street parade on Whit Sunday, which departs Hermannplatz at midday and reaches Yorckstrasse by late evening. Close to 5,000 participants and around a million spectators from 80 nations join together to celebrate Berlin's cultural diversity and openness at full pitch with a dazzling display of traditional costumes, ritual dances and folk customs.
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