It's the biggest Bengali bash outside Bangladesh and it's taking over Brick Lane, London's Banglatown, this Sunday. The Baishaki Mela is the Bangla New Year Festival and while there was a differently spelt celebration in Trafalgar Square just recently, you've really got to go East to truly feel the festivities.
On Sunday, festivities start at 11.00am with a procession of "Musicians, Dancers, Peacock boat, a Bridal Ride with Palki (Palanquin) and Rickshaws." The Bridal Ride sounds like a lot offun, but then again: "Other spectacular attractions in the procession will be a massive colorful Tiger." THe procession ends at 12noon and Ken Livingstone will be there to inaugurate the mela with the High Commissioner of Bangladesh and Members of Parliament.
For the rest of day, the main stage will host everything from traditional folk, Baul and Bollywood to Bengali rock, bhangra and contemporary east/west fusion and Brick Lane will be pedestrianised for the whole day and is going to be transformed into a market place with over 45 curry houses spilling out on to the pavement offering curry alfresco. Other stalls will sell Bangladeshi fashion goods and traditional handicrafts.
In London, every weekend is a happy new year.
Shubho Nobo Borsho!
For more information on the programme of events, go to the Baishaki Mela website here.