The word `mela' means a Gathering in some Asian languages. Edinburgh and Glasgow have hosted Melas, which have grown in popularity and have been well attended by both Black & Minority Ethnic communities as well as indigenous communities. The events have been a mixture of entertainment, food, music, information and trade stalls, showcasing the diverse culture of Scotland.
Fife communities expressed interest in hosting such an event in Fife. Funding from Celebrating Fife 2010, Fife Council, Carnegie Dunfermline Trust, Fife Constabulary and NHS Fife enabled the Fife Mela to take place. According to Pittencrieff Park staff more than 4,000 people attended this event. Please see photographs from the event.
Young people and children enjoyed participating in different cultural activities, including a multicultural fashion show. They had the opportunity to take part in a variety of children’s workshops ranging from Chinese calligraphy, Nepalese basket weaving, Polish arts and craft and Arabic glass painting, which raised their awareness of different cultures.
Activities for adults ranged from free hand massage and henna tattoos to information on learning opportunities from Carnegie College, with Opportunity Centre and ESOL staff on hand.
Environmental issues were promoted by Fife Coast and Countryside Rangers, the Forestry Commission and Scottish National Heritage.
All the communities attending the event benefitted by participating and networking among various service providers and stall holders, sharing opportunities to make friends and learn about different cultures.
At the NHS Keep Well stall, over 200 people accessed information and over 40 took advantage of free health checks. An NHS dietician was on hand to offer advice on healthy eating. The Child Smile team distributed information and toothbrushes for children.
On stage was a range of performances from Urdu school children singing, Caribbean Kids dancing, professional performers like Bani and Indrani and Lyrikool Lipz. There were first time performers like David Ross, NHS Fife staff and a Fife Council staff band called 13 Hundred, as well as the Fife Chinese Cultural society and Nepalese dancers. Desi Fusion was the DJ with Punjabi Dancers from Glasgow.
Catering was provided by five Fife food outlets offering Asian, Arabic, African, Caribbean and Chinese food. Scottish bakers provided homemade cakes, biscuits and other sweets.
From the positive reviews received by email, phone, verbally on the day and on Facebook as well as looking at the evaluation forms, the request from most people is another Mela next year at the same venue.