As a traveller and world citizen I believe that it’s important to stay open minded and try new things. That’s why I love visiting New York City, the most culturally diverse city in the world. Every summer there are many amazing cultural festivals celebrating the heritage and traditions of people from all over the world. These are a few of my favorite horizon-broadening experiences to see in the city.
West Indian-American Day Carnival
I had never had too much experience with Caribbean culture until I had the opportunity to visit the West Indian Day Carnival. The colourful costumes, mouth-watering food and infectious sounds of calypso come together for a crazy day of island celebrations that resonate across New York. According to the Gothamist some of the costumes worn in the parade can cost up to $900 and are every bit as elaborate as what you’d see at Mardi Gras. This year’s carnival will take place September 7 on the streets of Brooklyn, and will be a great way to spend the extra day off on your Labor Day weekend.
Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival
Did you know that the Chinatown in Flushing, Queens is the second-fastest growing Chinese community outside of China? With 12 years of Mandarin under my belt I felt it behooved me to spend some time in New York’s famous Chinatown. Plus, it was about as close as I was going to get to authentic Chinese culture without having to go back to Asia! The Dragon Boat Festival, also know as the “Duanwu Festival” is a traditional Chinese holiday dating back over 2000 years that commemorates the death of warrior-poet Qu Yuan in 278 BC. Reports from British Airways say that over 170 teams compete in the race making for a massive celebration of tradition, food and music. The free event will take place August 8 and 9 at Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens.
India Day Parade
With over 20 different marching groups and almost 40 floats, the India Day Parade is hard to miss as it comes down Madison Avenue. India West writes that famed Bollywood actor Arjun Rampal will have the honour of acting as the Grand Marshal for this year’s parade. The 2015 festival will take place on August 16 and organisers have already announced their goals to set three different world records. This year the Federation of Indian Associations is trying to break the record for the most confetti popped at a single event, the most people receiving henna tattoos at once and the largest number of different flags flown at the same time. Who hasn’t wanted to be part of a world record?
As a native of France I still have a lot of love for European culture. This is one of the reasons why it is so nice to see the diversity of parades and festivals in New York City as there really are things to do for people from every country. The parade was officially founded in 1957 and continues to this day as a celebration of German-American heritage. German-Americans are one of the biggest ancestral groups in America and this event is one of the most colourful in the city, filled with fun floats, flags and food. The parade takes places every year on the third Saturday in September, which is the 19th this year, and they even throw a traditional Oktoberfest in Central Park after the Parade.