The historical roots of the Manchester Carnival lie in Trinidad where the first caribbean carnival was held in 1833. Before this date, black slaves had been forbidden by law to take part in their master’s European easter carnivals, or even to gather on the streets after nightfall.
Caribbean’s took to the streets for their own carnival party
When these laws were repealed in 1833 and freedom from slavery was announced black Caribbean’s took to the streets for their own carnival party with song, dance and costumes that reflected both their own cultures and satirised their ex-masters.
When the first significant numbers of West Indian immigrants began to leave the Caribbean in the 1950s they took with them their musical traditions.
In 1972 a group of mostly St Kits & Nevis and Trinidadian Eastern Caribbean immigrants decided to throw an impromptu carnival procession through the streets of their Manchester neighbourhood. This is recognised as the first Manchester Caribbean Carnival.
Less than a hundred people were present; but, although small in scale the first ever Manchester carnival was an important moment in the history of black britons and Mancunians.
Manchester carnival has brought caribbean culture to the forefront annually for over 40 years and is the north west’s largest celebration of caribbean music and carnival arts. The carnival is a vibrant celebration of caribbean music, dance, theatre and costume.
If have any carnival history, memories or images to share, please contact the carnival through social media.