Celebrate diversity at colourful Belfast Mela

Daliya Khadir from ArtsEkta's South Asian Dance Academy PIC: William Cherry/Presseye

Daliya Khadir from ArtsEkta's South Asian Dance Academy PIC: William Cherry/Presseye

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The Belfast Mela is Northern Ireland’s largest annual celebration of cultural diversity and this year, as ever, it will fill Botanic Gardens with a riot of exotic sights, sounds, colours, flavours, dancing and music on August 24.

There will be a Global Souk full of foreign crafts and a Maharaja Tent filled with performances of classical Indian music and dance, a parade with a Chinese Dragon, Bollywood dancers and Indian dhol drums and workshops delivered by artists and story-tellers.

The musical line-up spans the whole spectrum from Bhangra to Brazilian Jazz, Cuban-African fusion to Celtic and Bulgarian to Ulster Scots while the World Food Market will allow visitors to try dishes from all over the globe.

Mela (the Sanskrit word for ‘to meet’), is now in its eighth year and annually attracts around 30,000 people. It is an important part of the Province’s cultural year as it is one of only a small number of events dedicated to the celebration of cultural and ethnic diversity.

This year’s line-up will also feature a few added twists, including a pop-up ethnic bazaar packed with Asian fashions, foreign silks and gifts and a Fantasy Forest that will feature a life-sized elephant and a host of vaudeville acts.

Nisha Tandon, director of ArtsEkta, organisers of the festival said: “Visitors to theBelfast Mela can expect to step into a whole new world teaming with entertainment and buzzing with atmosphere and with a programme that’s so packed and varied it will provide enjoyment and stimulation for everyone.

“The entire day will provide a unique cultural learning experience in the spirit of shared celebration.”

Belfast Mela, August 24, noon until 6pm. Book tickets online at belfastmela.com.