Background to the Boishakhi Mela in the UK
The Boishakhi Mela is the largest celebration of the Bengali New year outside Bangladesh. The Festival has Traditionally taken place in Brick Lane and Weaers Field park in Bethnal Green, East London.
The Mela comes to London’s buzzing East End to celebrate the Bengali New Year. Food Stalls, parades and rickswaw rides invite visitors to make themselves at home in the East End and join in the festivities.
The Mela takes over one of London’s most vibrant quarters; the event has grown consistently, attracting bigger and bigger crowds, since its inception. East meets West as the streets fill with Bangladeshi sounds, with everything from traditional folk, Bolywood to Bengali rock and bhangra.
with so many Bangladeshis residing in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, the Boishakhi Mela is the perfect occasion for the local Bangladeshi community and even those from across the UK to come together in unison to celebrate their heritage. The Boishakhi Mela showcases the pinnacle of Bangladeshi talent in the arts, music and culture.
The annual Boishakhi Mela originally began back in 1998 as a small community event managed by the Boishakhi Mela Trust Ltd: a non-profit organization. The mela was organized by the Bangladeshi community for the Bangladeshi community. As well as the event being created for celebration purposes, the Mela allows the Bangladeshi community in London to share the heritage with the rest of the UK, and allows those from other cultures to experience the true Bangladeshi culture.
In 2009, the management and planning responsibilities of the Mela was handed over to the Tower Hamlets Council Arts and Events, who renamed the event as a Baishakhi Mela in Bangla Town (Brick Lane), translating a new year’s festival.
2012’s event saw the Mela returning to community ownership, as the Boishakhi Mela Community Trust (BMCT) won the rights to host the festival, working in partnership with Tower hamlets Council. The idea is, under the management of the BMCT, representative of the wider modern Bangladesh community and grows every year.
In year 2015, the Mela saw a record breaking turnout of approximately 150,000 festival goers, 2015 was the milestone for the UK’s most famous Mela, as the Boishakhi Mela received a new home in Victoria Park. The famous park, renowned for hosting some of the worlds biggest music festival, is a natural new home for the Mela- its sheer size space allows a larger number of people to come along and enjoy the activities.
By the Mela coming closer to the neighboring boroughs of Hackney and Newham, the Mela will reach out to a wider community and see inclusion of a more diverse audience than ever before.