Aalborg Carnival

Aalborg Carnival
Photo: aalborgkarneval.dk
Denmark’s fourth largest city of Aalborg hosts the biggest carnival in Scandinavia and arguably in Northern Europe. Unlike most European carnivals that take place during the Pre-Lenten season (Shrovetide), the Aalborg Carnival is held each May.

The Aalborg Carnival was founded in 1983 by a group of enthusiasts who wanted to celebrate the coming of spring through carnival tradition. Their intention was to transform Aalborg into a gigantic theater where all citizens were simultaneously actors and spectators. The first carnival was held in the city center on May 28, 1983 and attracted around 10,000 people. The event has been growing ever since.

The Aalborg Carnival is a week-long event held during the last week of May. It takes place at Kildeparken, the oldest public park in Aalborg. Each installment of the carnival has a different theme and a unique poster. The theme serves as a source of inspiration for the participants. It is not a strict demand so all costumes are welcome even if they have little to nothing to do with this year’s theme.

The Carnival of Aalborg has three main highlights: the Battle of Carnival Bands, the Grand Parade, and Children’s Carnival. The Battle of Carnival Bands is held one day before the Grand Parade. It features carnival groups from all over Denmark and abroad, competing for the honorary title Best Carnival Band.

The Grand Parade is the main event of the Aalborg Carnival which attracts around 100,000 spectators each year. It features around 15 professional carnival groups from different countries followed by thousands of people - children and grown-ups alike - dressed in vibrant carnival costumes. There are four processions that begin in different places, meet up downtown and then continue to march through Kildeparken. The parade is followed by a massive party with live music, dancing, performances, and other kinds of entertainment.

Children’s Carnival is a special event for children of all ages. They dress up and march through the city with their parents. Children’s Parade is followed by entertainment in Kildeparken. For the whole day, the park transforms into a magic wonderland with fairground rides and exciting interactive activities.

Other highlights of the carnival are the masquerade, the carnival race, the big closing party, and the crowning of the Carnival King/Queen. The tradition of appointing a king or queen of the Aalborg Carnival was established in 1990. Past monarchs include actor Jesper Klein, author and artist Rune T. Kidde, sexologist Joan Ørting, actress Jytte Abildstrøm, actor Rasmus Bierg, and others.

Aalborg Carnival

Photo: jan kadlec




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