Botanic Gardens was completely transformed into a fantastic global festival for the day with a fantastic range of events from all around the world for the thousands of people in attendance. It all kicked off with a joyous carnival parade which set the mood for the day. A main stage was central to the whole event, showcasing music and dance. Headline acts included the Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers who brought the huge reverberating beats of Japan to the park, while the famously energetic Dhol Foundation kept the grounds and the crowds rocking with its mastery of the traditional Punjabi dhal drums.
The Mela taste theatre featured a selection of food demonstrations from different cultures. I was lucky enough to catch acclaimed personality chef, the Urban Rajah, whose enthusiasm really had the crowd captivated. I also loved wandering around the “Taste the World” area to explore the vast array of international cuisine on offer. Indian, Chinese, Spanish, Mexican, Thai to name a few, there really was something for everyone!
It was lovely to see even the tiniest guests wholly entertained with a sensory Little Bollywood event and amazing Fantasy Forest with workshops, international street theatre and magical Mexican-inspired arts installation of fantastical creatures. New to the event this year was a Polish village with a line-up of Polish music, dance, food and traditional folk art.
In case you were wondering, the word Mela originates from the Sakskrit word meaning ‘to meet’ and it couldn’t be more apt. This event provided an amazing opportunity to meet with people from all around the world and learn about their food and culture. Huge congratulations to ArtsEkta who organise the event each year. if you want to find out more about Artsekta and the Belfast Mela click here