Loyal enthusiasts on what they missed in a year they needed Carnival the most.

Booming music. Glittering costumes. And perhaps even more important: the feeling of being free.

After a year of racial reckonings, the celebration of Carnival — which provides a much-needed release for many revelers from London to New York to Toronto and beyond — was canceled.

“The loss of Carnival goes beyond costumes, music, liming [socializing] and physical contact,” said Ingrid Persaud, a Trinidad and Tobago-born writer who lives in Britain.

Would-be Carnival attendees said they missed the exuberance, the roti and pepper pot, singing along with others on the road and the very act of gathering.

As the singer Justine Skye, who usually participates in the West Indian Day Parade in Brooklyn, put it: “Honestly, that’s the one-time of the year I feel like anybody, doesn’t matter what shape, size, color you are, you just come together and you just let it all loose, and you just feel so confident within yourself.” Here’s what other Carnival enthusiasts missed because of the pandemic.

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Carnival is reclaiming the streets. Carnival is doing everything that you’re not allowed to do. Carnival is joy, it’s celebration. Carnival is, I think, necessary, it’s a release valve, and it’s a good excuse for a small geographical community to get together. — Sam Alexander, 54, director of the Brazilian band Baque de Axe, London