Carifiesta 2018: Montreal's Carnival Parade
Carifiesta Montreal -Carifête in French- is one of the city's more engaging parades, a July tradition since 1975 celebrating Montreal's Caribbean community, carnival style, with beautiful costumes, steelpan performances and vibrant parade participants animating the event. Organizers expect up to 100,000 people lining Ste. Catherine Street for the Carifiesta 2017 parade edition.
Carifiesta Montreal 2017: When
In 2018, Carifiesta is happening on Saturday, July 8, 2017 at noon. Expect the carnival to last at least two hours.
Carifiesta Montreal 2017: Where
Carifiesta Montreal 2017: After the Parade
Drop by the Montreal Jazz Festival's outdoor perimeter before and after the Carifiesta parade where live shows and free entertainment delight the crowds on the same day.
Carifiesta Montreal 2017: What Is It All About?
Carifiesta is much more than an excuse to celebrate on a hot summer's day. Themes of emancipation and freedom are at the forefront of an event that's about taking back what was stolen from the ancestors of Montreal's Caribbean Community.
Colorful costumes, vibrant music, copious exclamations of joy and dance come with the territory but unlike carnival traditions schedule just before the Christian observance of Lent like in New Orleans, Rio de Janeiro, or even Greece, carnival time comes in the thick of summer in Montreal since, well, Lent occurs in the smack of winter on the North American continent.
Considering THIS is what winter looks like in Montreal, you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone crazy enough to don flesh-baring carnival costumes in subzero weather.
Besides, Carifiesta isn't really a pre-Lent observation in the first place. It never was.
Instead, Carifête is a celebration of Montreal's Caribbean communities and perhaps a reminder that not too long ago, many ancestors of these community members were enslaved.
Furthermore, their slave "owners" did not let them join in those pre-Lent celebrations.
With that in mind, Carnival's and Carifiesta's roots lie in emancipation, freedom, a chance to symbolically take back what too many ancestors lost. It's also an opportunity to honor various island cultures and even Central and South American communities which contribute to Montreal's multifaceted and multicultural nature. The city would be lesser without them.
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