Celebrating Mela Festivals around the UK
mela (ˈmiːlə; ˈmɛlə), 1. an Asian cultural or religious fair or festival.
At this time of the year there is always lots of attention and coverage of the many great lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) events that take place around the UK. What you may not have come across yet is the many amazing Mela Festivals that brighten up our towns and cities every year. The events are a celebration of Asian culture and offer a great opportunity for our diverse communities to come together and learn more about our traditions and cultures. The larger melas tend to be in areas with larger ethnic minority populations, but many melas are held in communities with small South Asian diasporas. Community ownership of these melas is important to the south Asian communities who see them as opportunities to share their cultural heritage with the mainstream. Will you be attending or supporting any Mela events?
Melas are for everyone.
Manchester Mega Mela
25th and 26th July, Platt Fields Park, Rusholme, 12 – 9pm (Both days)
Manchester Mega Mela is the largest celebration of South Asian Culture in the North of England. Music, dance, food and traditional arts and crafts bring the sights, sounds and spicy aromas of South Asia to Platt Fields Park each year. The Mela is a two day fun-filled event.
Some of the biggest names in the UK and International Asian entertainment scene perform on two stages on both the days. Other attractions include a huge selection of food stalls, free henna painting, rangoli, face painting, dance workshops, fashion show, a fun-fair and Kabbadi.
29th and 30th August, Leith Links
The Edinburgh Mela seeks to embrace all its diverse communities and cultures. The events aim is to provide a high quality festival of music, dance and the wider arts from around the world, with the express purpose of promoting understanding between people and advancing the cause of community coherence.
30th August, Botanic Gardens, 12 – 6pm
The Belfast Mela brings together tens of thousands of people to enjoy a show stopping line up featuring music, dance, food, fashion, street theatre, circus and carnival from across the globe. Situated near Queens University Belfast, the Botanic Gardens is an important part of Belfast’s Victorian heritage and a popular meeting place for residents, students and tourists. Mela is an artistically led celebration of culture and creativity, inspired by local and international talent and celebrates identity through a unique programme of music, dance, food and visual arts.
31st August, Leicester City Centre, 11 – 6pm
The team are inviting the whole of the UK to experience a glittering mix of live music, dance, food, fashion arts and culture at the Leicester Belgrave Mela Festival. Indulge in delicious Indian cuisine from across the Indian subcontinent and shop till you drop in their famous Mela Bazaar. Enjoy a whole host of free South Asian arts and cultural activities throughout the city centre and experience electrifying live entertainment on the main stage. Join them, along with a few celebrity guests, for a free, fun-filled day out for the whole family that’s kindly supported by Leicester City Council.
“The events are a celebration of Asian culture and offer a great opportunity for our diverse communities to come together and learn more about our traditions and cultures.”
A selection of some of the other Mela Festivals taking place around the UK this Summer
Southampton Mela Festival :
Sandwell & Birmingham Mela :
25th and 26th July
Newcastle Mela :
Cardiff Multicultural Mela :
September – Date to be announced