Hammarkullen Carnival

The carnival in Hammarkullen is an annual event with roots in various parts of the world. Song and dance troupes from a number of different countries meet here to dance and play music.

Group of young women dancing on the street in carnival.

Category: Craft, Music and dance, Performances

Geographical location: Hammarkullen, Gothenburg

The music, originating from the participants’ former home countries, is often based on traditional music that is played at a high tempo. The dances included in the carnival are also rooted in traditions from different parts of the world. The dances are performed in lavishly decorated costumes and many of the dance troupes also perform in other locations around Sweden and abroad.

The Hammarkullen Carnival takes place at the end of May. It is organised by an independent committee that is run mainly by volunteers. However, financial support is needed in order to ensure that it can be conducted in safely, in accordance with hygiene and environmental regulations. The preparations take place throughout the year and also include different craft skills connected to the making of costumes and props. Other events and holidays such as celebrating the Swedish national day and/or international festivals or dance competitions are also seen as an opportunity to perform.

The neighbourhood where the carnival is held, Hammarkullen, is home to people from many different countries. For them the carnival has become a way to show off their respective cultures and to integrate into the local community as well as the community in their own networks. The majority of participants are members of various associations, which has a major importance to both creating the sense of community and to allowing access to various premises where they can practice. The carnival, which was started in the mid 1970s, has been gradually reimagined and changed over time. It started at the instigation of young people who wanted to do something for their neighbourhood and was developed on the initiative of the Latin American groups in the area. Later on, groups from other parts of the world also started participating in the carnival. Over the years, the carnival has grown increasingly large and it is now a significant event for many different cultures. As new generations join in, the elements and forms of expression in the carnival have changed. In recent years, a number of new events have been added such as separate cultural activities and the sale of food from different parts of the world.