Colorful Sights During Hamburg’s Sixth ‘Carnival of the Cultures’

October 6, 2008 Updated: October 1, 2015
A participant from Brazil dances during the festival (ROLAND MAGUNIA/AFP/Getty Images)
A participant from Brazil dances during the festival (ROLAND MAGUNIA/AFP/Getty Images)

Four hundred artists, musicians, and other creative people from 80 nations were featured at the Sixth Carnival of the Cultures festivalin Hamburg. The motto for this year's September open-air event was “cooperation” as festival goers were invited to become part of a cultural melting pot.

Hamburg can be called the city of 180 cultures. But what do its citizens know about the many ethnic groups that make up the city’s cultural diaspora?

The festival was designed to encourage tolerance toward others and was intended to eliminate discriminatory tendencies different cultures may have toward each other.

“We hear more and more the call for respecting each other and living in harmony. Immigrants and migrant workers are sometimes called ‘foreigners’ in a pejorative way. But they are members of our society and we all live in the same country. Our society needs to change if we want to foster a harmonious environment. We have to be open to new experiences. The globalized world brings about changes that we have to adapt to—that means learning to live with newcomers," said the festival promoters on their Website.

The festivities were held at the University of Hamburg campus. Three stages provided entertainment from morning to night, and featured folk music groups, dancers, jazz musicians, and world-class music ensembles. Musical styles included everything from tango to tarantella, reggae to rock, and salsa to samba. The event was hailed as a riot of color and costumes as performers from many different countries strutted their stuff.

A bazaar featured handicrafts, merchants, and food from around the world. Delectable aromas, colorful costumes, and artisans in action tempted the attendees to try the food and to watch the entertainment.

Also present were organizations, social clubs, authors, and photographers. Mihaly Modlvay, a photographer for Stern [Star] magazine discussed advantages, disadvantages, and human rights with expatriates from a variety of nations. All the while there was street theater, people dancing, and performers on stilts.

During this year's festival 1,000 children held a parade through Hamburg's Neustadt.

A "Museum of Sound" let children and their parents try a variety of musical instruments from different countries. Children from various cultures got to know each other through games, puppet theater, and children's dance ensembles. It was easy to see how the youngsters overcame any preconceived notions and mixed together, as they were enjoying the events with each other.

Only the future will tell if the goal of bringing immigrants, foreigners, and German nationals together to erase any discriminatory tendencies was achieved.