Baishakhi Mela: Bengali New Year

Last Sunday was Bengali New Year and the biggest celebration outside of South Asia took place around Weavers Fields, Allen Gardens and Brick Lane. 110,000 made it a record-breaking event.

Included in the festivities was a mechanical animal parade. We were down there for other reasons and didn’t get to see too much of the festival, but did manage a glimpse of a few floats starting off on the route. Here’s a few pictures of those. If you were down there and have some pics of your own to share, add them to the Flickr pool.

Baishakhi Mela Boat 2

Baishaki Mela Float

Baishaki Mela Dancers

Baishaki Mela

Baishaki Mela Flower Float

Baishaki Mela Turtle

Baishaki Mela Elephant 3

Chinese New Year

As I’ve said in the past, one of the best things about London is the merging of cultures.

This afternoon, I walked through Chinatown for the New Year celebration with an English friend and four Estonians – three of them couch-surfing at his place. We ate in a restaurant nearby – a Chinese buffet with Chinese karaoke of some sort on TVs in front of us. While there, two of the Estonians were speaking Russian with people at a table next to us.

Like the area of East London where street signs are written in both Bengali and English, in Chinatown, they are written in Chinese and English.

I took a few photos, but it was raining, crowded and we didn’t get to see much because we were there a bit late, but here’s a couple.

[It’s also Mongolian New Year so happy New Year to my Mongolian friends as well! :)]

New Year in Parliament Square

Through a friend of a friend, I was lucky enough to be able to bring in the new year in Parliament Square. We went to a fancy dress pop star party at her house just around the corner from Westminster Abbey, were taken through a blocked off area to a nearly empty Parliament Square about 11:45 – just in time to see the fireworks but not have to put up with the crowds or the cold….

Happy new year everyone!