A Different Carnival – International Students on Lundakarnevalen

Students at Lund University are going to witness a unique carnival weekend. Amongst international students who have participated in other carnivals back home, there is a lot of curiosity and the expectations are high.

From the 18th to the 20th of May, Lund will host the event of the year: Lundakarnevalen (literally: The Carnival of Lund). It is a very old tradition. The Carnival is said to have been founded in 1849, when some students decided to celebrate springtime with a parade along the streets of Lund.

From the first Lundakarnevalen until today, this event has always been completely organized by students. The preperations usually start a year in advance when the students begin working on the carts, the logistics and the managerial aspects of the carnival.

More than 5 500 students at Lund University (LU) are involved with this year’s edition, a sign of how much Lundakarnevalen is part of the university and the city life. This is one of the reasons why this event is also the biggest student festival in Sweden. Usually 400 000 curious visitors from all over the country gather to take part in a different type of carnival.

The uniqueness of the carnival can be explained by the fact that it only occurs every four years. During each edition there is a different theme linking all the events happening during the carnival weekend. This year the theme is “Imaginal Carnival” and the idea is to spread creativity and fantasy in every single detail, from the city parade to the entertainment activities organized in Lundagård park where the carnival area will be set up.

Lundakarnevalen wants to amuse spectators of all ages through the setting of a vibrant and colourful atmosphere which combines tradition and innovation.

International students at LU have participated in the preparations for Lundakarnevalen as well. Some of them are among the volunteers helping with the organization. Others have bought the tickets for one of the scheduled events. Many of them come from countries where carnivals are a big tradition and highly anticipated each year.

Lundakarnevalen is not a conventional carnival and international students might wonder what to expect. Especially if their homeland is famous for their own carnival. We asked Joana Gama Filho, Kostas Mantas and Christina Desirée Bollmann how
a carnival looks like at home, and their expectations of Lundakarnevalen. 

Christina Desirée Bollmann, Master student in Entrepreneurship and innovation, from Düsseldorf, Germany. Photo: Anni-Elina Vänskä

“Carnival in Düsseldorf start on the 11th of November at 11.11 am. After that you have the big parade the Monday before Lent, people throw candy from the carts and every Carnival group represents a political satire.”

What are your expectations?

“I have heard a lot about Lundakarnevalen.
I know it will be a big venue gathering people from all over who are ready to party. I expect something not as traditional as I am used to.”

Kostas Mantas, Bachelor student in Physics from Thessaloniki, Greece. Photo: Anni-Elina Vänskä

“In Greece, Carnival takes place before Lent. It is a big party with parades organised by the municipalities. Each Carnival group walk on the streets with different masks and holding a flag with a satirical message.”

What are your expectations?

“I am expecting a big event and that every street of Lund will be filled with people, music, and a good atmosphere.”

Joana Gama Filho, Master student in International Marketing and Brand Management, from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo: Anni-Elina Vänskä

“In Brazil, you start celebrating Carnival on Friday and you finish the next Wednesday. It is the only time when different people come together to party, sing, and dance. It is pure high energy.”

What are your expectations?

“Honestly? When I heard about Lundakarnevalen the first time, I had the idea that it is going to be low-key. I hope to change my mind.”

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