Boishake Mela (Bangladeshi New Year)
The Exeter Corn Exchange resonated to a different drum this Bank Holiday Sunday as Bangladeshi drummers, musicians, singers and dancers performed traditional music and dance for Boishake Mela, the Bengali New Year celebration. 2015 in our calendar is 2023 in the Bengali calendar, and was the sixth year the event has been staged in Exeter. Hikmat Devon, a community interest company which provides support for people from minority cultures across the county, organise the event with the help of the Devon Bengali Association. This year's spectators were able to sit and enjoy curries, Indian snacks, sweets and drinks while they watched the performances. They included a traditional Bollywood-style dance by pupils at Montgomery School and songs from the Indian TV star, Salim Choudhury, with Sandyman and his Guru Soundz musicians and singers from London. For the more adventurous, henna tattoos and Indian clothing were on sale, make-your-own floral head bands and kids craft table kept the children busy, and a display of Bengali regiments and soldiers fighting on the Western Front of WW1 included a colouring competition for children too. The Lady Mayoress of Exeter, Cynthia Thompson opened the event and delighted the dancers from Montgomery School by telling them she also was a pupil of the school - many years ago!