This month in London sees the Notting Hill Carnival roll into town. It is a vibrant celebration featuring many different cultures, and very different from the Italian carnivals I was exposed to when I was younger.
The first major difference is with the fashion. This carnival costume (see picture below) must be one of the worst ever put on a child. I still don’t know what my family was thinking – they were not thinking as usual!
Unsurprisingly, I was never a fan of the carnival while I was growing up. A fashion faux pas like this will scar you for life. I am just happy I don’t remember the ridicule I must have been on the end of at whatever party I went to after this unforgettable picture was taken. I would like to ask to whoever chose that costume why, but I know that a conversation like this could end up breaking any ties with my family. I know it was the 80’s, but it is still not acceptable to dress a child with a bird nest on her head! After discovering this picture, I understood why the word ‘carnival’ has always given me such a deep sense of sadness.
Overall I am rather happy that carnivals are not celebrated as much in this country (aside from the famous Notting Hill Carnival). I have never been to the Notting Hill Carnival, and now I feel too old to party on the streets when I am not sure where the nearest toilet is!
There are two main carnival celebrations in Italy – Fat Thursday and Fat Tuesday. Fat Tuesday is the day before lent starts, and as with all Italian celebrations, there is a lot of food to eat. One typical dish for this celebration is the delicious fried cakes.
After all this indulgence lent starts when life is stripped of all the fun and in more modern times it has become ‘in’ to give up one thing over the 40 days before Easter. I am not ‘in’ so I never give up anything, plus I feel that attending nuns school for 13 years has exonerated me from any further penitence!
Enjoy the upcoming Bank Holiday weekend, especially if you are off to Notting Hill!