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Holi Mela festival hailed a success as crowds flock to colourful event

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A popular Indian festival turned the North-east technicolour as it returned for another year.

The Indian Association of North East Scotland (IANES) organised the Holi Mela, Festival of Colour, with this year’s event being more popular than ever.

Around 1,000 tickets were sold for the celebration, which was held in Westhill’s Ashdale Hall.

A traditional Hindu festival, Holi Mela celebrates the beginning of spring after the long winter.

The festival is linked with themes of joy, celebration, good winning over evil and friendship.

This year’s event included the traditional colour throwing, with attendees tossing brightly coloured powders over one another.

Harpreet Saini, IANES president, said: “It’s absolutely brilliant to see and it keep getting bigger and bigger from this time seven years ago.

“You can see the scale of it and people are just loving it.

“And luckily, we have had a beautiful day. It was raining on Saturday so this is absolutely brilliant.”

Yesterday’s event saw more people from different backgrounds attend the festival for the first time.

Harpreet said: “There are more locals here and we’ve kept it open for everyone. We want all communities – whether it’s Indian or other cultures – to come together and enjoy this festival.”

Liz Howarth, chairwoman of Ethnic Minority Forum in Aberdeen, said: “The amazing thing about this year is that traditionally we will see different communities and ethnic groups celebrating their own individual events amongst themselves, and what’s becoming really apparent in Aberdeen with Holi Mela and other events is that we’re actually now getting people from all the communities coming together, particularly the local community.

“If you look around there’s loads of folk from Aberdeen here and that is something that we’ve not really seen happen before.”

She added: “Aberdeen seems to be becoming more open to the different festivals and events now.

“People are more excited about coming out and learning a little bit more and getting involved a little bit more. So the thing that really heartens me is seeing a lot of local people here celebrating alongside all of our different communities.”

Veenu Singla, former IANES president, said: “I’m proud of the great support we’ve received from everyone. It’s fantastic that we’ve got to this level where everyone is involved and everyone looks forward to it.

“It started with a very small event when we used to do small events at organiser’s houses.”


Watch: Holi Mela festival hailed a success as crowds flock to colourful event

Author: IANES

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