Belfast Mela brings the world to Botanic Gardens

Junior ministers Megan Fearon and Alastair Ross get into the swing of Mela with Nisha Tandon, director of ArtsEkta, organisers of the Mela

Junior ministers Megan Fearon and Alastair Ross get into the swing of Mela with Nisha Tandon, director of ArtsEkta, organisers of the Mela

A blaze of colour and music burst into Belfast’s Botanic Gardens as the 10th Belfast Mela was celebrated in truly global style.

The sedate Victorian gardens was transformed into an eclectic global village which showcased arts, culture and cuisine drawn from a wealth of nations.

Botanic Gardens was transformed into an eclectic global village for the day

Botanic Gardens was transformed into an eclectic global village for the day

And, as always, the city took its magnificent Mela to its heart where good-humoured, multi-generational audiences danced, sang, shopped and ate their way around the world in one great global afternoon.

Junior ministers Alastair Ross and Megan Fearon were among those celebrating in the south Belfast venue.

“The Mela showcases what a culturally diverse and prosperous city Belfast has become,” said Mr Ross.

“Today is a celebration of all that is positive about our multi-cultural society and shows how diversity enriches our lives.

“The thousands of people here today clearly demonstrate that Northern Ireland is a place where everyone, no matter of what race, belief or ethnicity, is welcome.”

Ms Fearon said: “Too often we hear of racist attacks and hatred; this cannot be tolerated and we must do all we can to assign racism and hatred to the past.

“We must continue to work together to build a fair and equal society where everyone is accepted.

“Today we see the true face of Belfast; a city where people celebrate diversity and come together in a spirit of friendship and mutual respect.”