Planning for Carnival begins a year ahead with a great deal of competition between the various troupes and designers, and a great deal of secrecy surrounding the designs. Below is the winning Carnival Queen, a truly amazing costume.
Though there were a whole host of other amazing costumes:
The troupes are formed of both adults and children, the children's troupes being one of the most enjoyable aspects of the events: I particularly liked the blue birds:
The colour and spectacle of the event in local streets is truly amazing:
It can be an exhausting event, though this year not as hot as it often is: masqueraders come prepared with fresh drinks (at one time, in the days when the steel bands had to be pulled along by teams of strong men it must have been even more exhausting)
From a textile point of view, many of the costumes are truly works of art: I loved the detail of the embroidery in this one.
But my overall favourite was this one: first you notice the sheer beauty of it and then the chains:
Then you get the view from behind - the slave ship and the dead faces in the water:
Yes, Carnival is fun, and joyful, full of music and dance and laughter. But it is also serious fun: the celebration of a culture (it has been an important part of validating African Caribbean culture in Leeds, established at a time when people faced even greater racism than they do today even though many had lived in Leeds since the mid-forties) and a shared history. For me it is not only inspirational but awe-inspiring.