Mela Festival 2018 was planned over many months and luckily it was a sunny Sunday afternoon in July with no rain in sight!”Mela” is the Sanskrit word meaning ‘meeting’, ‘fair’ or ‘gathering’ and ‘celebrations’ of all kinds.
A riot of colour and frenzy of music and around 17,000 people from all backgrounds descended on Eastleigh town for the latest MELA festival.
Eastleigh’s Leigh Road recreation ground was treated to a variety of dancing, music, food and fun from the various communities in the area. The group Bangra style dancing was a big draw, climbing and cycling, Mhendi and fabulous foods filled the park. It was busy and fun, lots of families and people of differing backgrounds attending. One Community ran a tombola and talked to many about signing up for volunteering.
One of the most popular shows was the dazzling Lion Dance and Chinese band.
Quotes from Eastleigh Public attending the event included:
“Its awesome on a day like today to be here, I’m loving the curry!”
“I can’t wait for the Abba tribute to come on, I think there is Bangra later on. There aren’t many things you can get to for free with all this going on.”
“Sitting here on the deckchairs with my family having a picnic, is really great”
“I’m finishing this ice cream and heading on over to have a henna tattoo. We have had a fab time.”
“Loving the hoop dance display and we are going to have a few cocktails at the Point outside bar, we have been here since 11 and still not seen everything!”
“It is a wonderful chance to meet others and see examples of other cultures doing good things”
Event co-ordinator Mohammed Mossadaq, known as Moss, said: “Mela is all about cultural fusion. If people share food and sunshine, it can break down a lot of barriers.”
Mela is organised by the Eastleigh Asian Welfare and Cultural Association (AWCA.)
Alongside all the dancing, music, shows and displays were a number of stalls from the Eastleigh Community. The Police and Fire service supported the event and it was fabulous to see lots of the public talking to a range of stall holders from Dementia services, encouraging physical fitness in children, to the library, through to care options for the elderly and almost everything in between.
If you would like to see more pictures, short clips and interesting snippets about the Mela or any other events One Community are involved in, check out our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.
Did you go to the Mela?
What were your favourite parts?
** Top tip- ask ALEXA or your Google Home to play “Bangra Pop” and you too can be practising your Indian dancing at home!**
We can’t wait to see what MELA festival brings to Eastleigh next year!