Enjoy a South Asian mela this weekend in Chicago’s South Loop

Enjoy a South Asian mela this weekend in Chicago's South Loop

Have you ever heard of a mela? Chicagoans will soon have a chance to experience the unique South Asian street festival in a major event.

“A mela is a traditional South Asian street fair,” said Kerry Sheehan, director of program development and events at the Kalapriya Center. “Chicago is known for our street festivals, but many Chicagoans probably haven’t had the opportunity to experience a mela before, with its incredible food and stunning South Asian dancers and musicians.”

The Kalapriya Center’s Outdoor Mela will be held Sunday afternoon in Chicaog’s South Loop, at the Women’s Parks & Gardens. 

Besides food and music, there will also be henna tattoo artists and arts and crafts for children.

Chicago has the second largest concentration of South Asian Americans and Indian immigrants in the country, and the Kalapriya Center showcases Indian performing arts as a way to build community and a desire for peace.

“We are a stronger society when we understand that love and art can be more powerful than hate and violence. All of us are Kalapriyas, or Lovers of Art, in some form or another,” says Dr. Mridu Sekhar, president of the Board of Directors of the Kalapriya Center.

This summer the Kalapriya Center for Indian Performing Arts has offered a series of events ranging from plays to musical performances, and poetry readings around the city, with the goal of instilling ahimsa, the Hindu belief symbolizing love, genuine care, and compassion towards all living beings in the center’s pursuit of a summer of non-violence in the city.

In addition to the Outdoor Mela on Sunday, the Kalapriya Center is partnering with the Chicago Park Districts’ Nights Out in the Park for celebrations of music and dances in Bollywood films on July 31 in Tuley Park and Aug. 17 in Warren Park. 

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