Edinburgh Mela


Edinburgh Mela 2010 (copyright Fiona Hartree)
Edinburgh Mela 2010 (copyright Fiona Hartree)

Mela is a sanskrit word meaning ‘gathering’ and is used to describe festivals in the Indian subcontinent.The Scottish Mela festivals are multicultural arts festivals that, while having their roots in South Asian culture, can now best be seen as celebrating wide diversity of cultural life in Scotland, featuring dance, music, crafts, food and fashion, not just from South Asia, but from all over the world. There are two annual Mela festivals in Scotland: one in Glasgow and one in Edinburgh.

Edinburgh Mela is a major annual multicultural arts festival. It currently takes place in Pilrig Park over two days, in early September. It was founded in 1995 by members of the city’s Pakistani, Indian and Bangladeshi communities. One of its key objectives from the outset was to ‘reflect and celebrate Scotland's cultural diversity, while retaining its roots in the South Asian communities’. In 2006 the Edinburgh Mela attracted 40,000 people, and in 2007 over 30,000 on a single day (http://www.bbc.co.uk/1/low/scotland/4210794.htm).

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