The very first outdoor Boishaki Mela festival was hosted in Leicester at the weekend, by members of the city’s Bangladeshi community.
The event, which was held yesterday (Sunday, July 3), at Leicester’s Caribbean Cricket Club Park, saw hundreds of people turn out to enjoy the sun and entertainment on offer. This included music, food, stalls pony rides, and a bouncy castle for the children.
Abu Taher, MBE, president of the event, described Mela as is a “festival of food, fun and enjoyment.” Its purpose was to “unite the community,” and to provide a space for them to “have fun together.”
“The Mela is something very extraordinary for the people of Bangledesh and people who are Bangladesh speaking,” he explained. “It’s never happened in Leicester in the open air before.
“We have already celebrated it with a very small quantity of people in the community hall, at restaurants and things like that, but this time we thought we have enough people in Leicester to do something bigger.
“We’ve got a very big community, which is growing every day, and we just thought we’d introduce something to the community, so they understand that we have a little culture as well that matters,” he added.
The Mela, which which ran between 1-7pm, was opened by George Cole, the new Lord Mayor of Leicester.
Cllr Piara Singh Clair, Deputy City Mayor was also in attendance.
“This is something which is happening for the first time, and another feather in the cultural sector of Leicester and its diversity,” he said of the event.
“We are really pleased with the way in which the Bangladeshi community has come together to organise Boishaki – a celebration of their Bangladeshi new year.
“I hope they will organise similar events in many years to come. We will whole heartedly support them.”