13th Belfast Mela set for August 25
From left, Kancy Guan, classical Chinese dancer, and Mexican dancers Mayte Segura and Denise Navarrete at the launch of the Belfast Mela.
Up to 30,000 people are expected to visit Northern Ireland’s biggest celebration of cultural diversity, the Belfast Mela, this weekend.
A family day out celebrating Northern Ireland’s increasing cultural diversity with music, dance, food and entertainment from around the world, it will be held on Sunday, August 25 in Botanic Gardens from 12 noon to 6pm and is hosted by U105’s Carolyn Stewart and UTV’s Paul Reilly and Julian Simmons.
“The award-winning Mela, launched by the one of the city’s leading cultural groups – ArtsEkta, is now the biggest celebration of cultural diversity on the island of Ireland,” said Lord Mayor of Belfast Councillor John Finucane. “Mingling at the Mela (the word actually means ‘to meet’ in Sanskrit) is more than just a fun day out, it is also a tangible and high-profile demonstration of the life-enhancing benefits of diversity. The buoyant vibrancy at Botanic Gardens is a real tribute to Belfast’s welcoming spirit and showcases our capital’s continuously evolving make up.”
Nisha Tandon OBE, founder and executive director, Arts Ekta, said: “The success of Mela is rooted in a desire by all communities across Belfast and beyond to be part of something that represents their own cultural identity. We must continue to move forward together to create a society where everyone is respected and feels a sense of belonging. The Mela represents Belfast as the vibrant, enriched, intercultural and ambitious city it is growing to become.
“In 2019, we present a bold, vibrant and colourful cultural celebration working with hundreds of artists, locally and internationally, to create a wonderful world of music, dance, food, storytelling and arts for all the family to enjoy together.”
The opening procession led by the Lord Mayor of Belfast and other special guests will feature commissioned carnival creations, Bollywood dancers, scores of community participants, spectacular processional sculpture, all set to the sound of a lively brass band from Rajasthan.
For full details of this year’s Festival, go to www.belfastmela.org.uk.