Fairs, celebrations, parties, holidays, carnivals and festivals are a great way to get to know a city and its people. Let’s take a look at Berlin’s main festivals and parades:
Berlin Film Festival
Known as the Berlinale, the Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin (International Film Festival) is the largest cultural event in this city, as well as one of the world’s leading film festivals, together with Cannes and Venice.
It is the largest festival worldwide when it comes to public attendance: over 270,000 tickets sold and almost 500,000 admissions. Some 400 films are screened, and 20 of them compete for the awards: the golden and silver bears.
The festival was first founded in 1951 and is celebrated annually in February since 1978. A film trade fair, the European Film Market, is held simultaneously, together with other satellite events involving art, glamour, commerce and international media attention.
Long Night of Museums
As it happens in many cities, Berlin organizes two Lange Nacht der Museen (Long Night of Museums) annually. Since 1997, one night in January and one night in August, participating museums and cultural institutions remain open until 2am.
In this context the public has extra time to visit these places and, by buying a single pass, get access to all establishments and to the transportation to reach the places they choose to visit. The concept was well received and widespread, while the number of participating institutions and visitors grows every time.
Fête de la Musique
The Fête de la Musique is an international music party held on June 21st, the first day of the northern hemisphere summer, to celebrate the beginning of this season and the longest day of the year. The event was created in 1981 by Jack Lang, the French Minister of Culture at that time. It was later internationalized reaching over 120 countries and many cities, Berlin included.
The objective is to promote music, both by organizing free concerts throughout the cities and by encouraging amateur musicians to play their music on the streets. Participant well-known Berliner venues are the House of World Cultures, the Volksbühne, as well as many of the galleries and nightclub stages.
The Oberbaumbrücke is a double-deck bridge that crosses the River Spree, in the city of Berlin, linking Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain. Every August, an art festival is celebrated under this bridge.
There are amateur tango dancers in public performances, artists selling their work, and a long canvas spread on the street where visitors can contribute to an amateur painting.
Christopher Street Day
On June 27th, 1969, the first uprising of the homosexual community against police assaults took place in Greenwich Village in New York, USA. To commemorate this date, Germans hold a major gay-pride parade in many of their cities, Berlin among them.
Half a million participants dressed in wild costumes make this annual parade a must for all photographers and photo amateurs. Christopher Street Day is the biggest GLBT holiday and political demonstration for claiming their rights.
Every party has its anti-party, and every parade has its anti-parade. For the very commercial Love Parade, that would be the Fuckparade, a techno demonstration against the exclusion of Gabber music and promotion of Love Parade.
Speeches are followed by alternative/extreme/independent music performances, with more political speeches towards the end. Originally called the Hateparade, it used to be celebrated on the same date as the Love Parade, in July, but was later moved to August. In 2000 it attracted 1.5 million people!
The largest hemp (cannabis) legalization demonstration in Europe, the Hanfparade is held in Berlin every August since 1997 as a political initiative for legalizing the use of hemp both in agriculture and as a stimulant.
This peaceful parade includes many speeches and live music by national and international artists, as well as politicians and personalities from medicine, culture and the legalization movement. There’s also an open microphone for anyone willing to express his/her thoughts on the topic.
Carnival is a tradition celebrated worldwide in February and / or March. In Germany, Karneval was brought to Berlin from the southern and western areas of the country, where the party is called Fasching or Fastnacht.
Though the “original” big parades are the ones in Cologne, Mainz or Düsseldorf, Berlin’s Karneval is worth watching. With 500.000 to 1 million attendants, the parade includes traditional cars and people in costumes on a route across Kurfürstendamm.
Carnival of Cultures
Every Pentecost weekend, on Whit Sunday either in May or June, Berlin celebrates its Karneval der Kulturen -Carnival of Cutures-. Similar events take place simultaneously in Frankfurt and Hamburg.
A multi-ethnic street parade, the Karneval der Kulturen gathers different groups that show their traditions, costumes, music and dances. Political, alternative and modern groups also participate.
For more information about Festivals, Parades or other attractions in Berlin, contact us and we will gladly send you further material about any subject of your interest. We will e-mail this information at no cost within 72 hours and it will be specific to your requirements
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