Northern Ireland’s biggest celebration of cultural diversity, the Belfast Mela is now live with a week-long series of more than 50 free events planned online until Sunday 30th August at www.belfastmela.org.uk

Nisha Tandon, Founder of Belfast Mela said: “Thousands of viewers have already tuned in as Mela at Home went live with an impressive line-up of cookery by celebrity chef The Urban Rajah; Children’s storytelling with a special Harry the Hedgehog animation, Mexican guitar lessons, a global mash-up dance, yoga and much more, plus there’s even more to come with a new line-up every day until Sunday night’s Bollywood finale. If you couldn’t make our first performances you can still catch up online at our website www.belfastmela.org.uk.”

Highlights of this year’s Mela at Home Festival include:

A World of Music & Dance 
Bringing together the best local music and dance from artists living across Northern Ireland, the World Stage is packed with moves and grooves for the whole family to enjoy together. From the happy sounds of African band Magwere, to infectious Spanish music from Los Dramaticos, and the explosive energy of Bollywood from the South Asian Dance Academy to the cheeky banter of Anna’s Number, the World Stage will offer you a taste of the diversity right here on your doorstep in Belfast.

The Garden of Hopes 
An online immersive storytelling adventure for ages 5 plus. From mermaids to sprites each character in the garden uses an enchanting mix of storytelling, song and mindfulness tools to tell their tales of how they use the power of hope to help garden seeds find their way into the light.

Taste the World
Step into the Palm House at Botanic Gardens as ArtsEkta presents a tasty line up of artisan producers. We’ll be hearing from chilli grower Tim McCarthy from Blackfire, having a go at shucking fresh oysters as well as making the traditional Indian summer drink, Mango Lassi.

You, Me & Tea 
Tea, glorious tea, is a common theme in this year’s programme to mark the first year of our new heritage programme, You, Me & Tea. At this year’s Virtual Mela, hear from Eric Woods who will discuss the life and achievements of Sir Samuel Davidson, founder of the Sirocco Works; delve into the wild with a foraging walk to make your own tea; listen to the tale of Suki Tea, one of our most successful tea blending companies and have a bit of fun with tea leaf reading.

World of Words 
Culture and creativity will come alive at the World of Words with stories from across the city and beyond. Check out our Ten x 9 story challenge, perfect your poetry and enjoy a very special puppet show in Irish by singer Grainne Holland.  We’ll also be revealing the winners from our storytelling competition and celebrating their work with a series of animated cartoon shorts to bring their stories to life.

Rainbow Rangoli
Join visual artist Elaine Taylor with a team of local artists as they take over Botanic Gardens to create a massive art installation inspired by the ancient Indian rice craft of Rangoli. We would love you to help us and create your very own Rainbow Rangoli using our step by step guide – share your completed creations to social media using #rainbowrangoli.

Voices of Mela 
Voices of Mela is a film and photographic exhibition that was commissioned to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the festival back in 2016. We are delighted to bring the exhibition online for first time exploring all our favourite and iconic moments of the festival as well as the immeasurable impact it has had on the cultural landscape of Belfast.

Nisha Tandon, adds: “We have all been through a pretty challenging time over the last few months and our health & wellbeing has never been more important. Curated by Tessa Ann from Tonic Wellness, the World of Wellbeing offers a chance for us all to take a step back, relax and unwind. A gentle mix of guided yoga, sound meditation and tai chi awaits to help you soothe your mind and bring peace to your day.”

The Virtual Mela runs from 24th – 30th August 2020. All events can be accessed from www.belfastmela.org.uk and are free of charge. 

Love Belfast
Belfast guide to restaurants, bars, nightclubs, concerts, events, hotels, entertainment, special offers, news, gossip, travel, festivals and culture. http://lovebelfast.co.uk

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