Sep 24, 2021
The word “Bonderam” delivered from the Portuguese word “Bandeira” meaning “flag”. Bonderam is the festival of flags.
It takes place on Divar Island on the fourth Saturday of August.
The celebration of this festival has a unique history behind it. The villagers many years back resented the rules that were adopted for settling disputes regarding the land issues. The Portuguese then set up flags to mark areas where the villagers were unable to take over the lands of the nearby villages.
The villagers protested against this system by knocking down all the flags. The Bonderam festival celebrated in the memory of those protests.
Every year in August, this small island becomes alive with bubbling activity of the Bonderam festival. The people residing here come together to celebrate this festival and a carnival like atmosphere created here. Colourful tableaux created by the people and a massive parade takes place.
Every small community or a group of people come together to celebrate Bonderam festival in Goa
There elaborate feasting during the Bonderam festival and every household decorated thus presenting a scenic and colourful picture. The villagers engage in a mock fight that represents the knocking down of the flags during the time of Portuguese. Toy weapons of bamboo stems is used for fighting and wild berries used as missiles that are aimed at the rival group.
All this taken in good spirit and all the people come together after the mock fight to eat and drink merrily.
Every year at the Bonderam festival the crowd assembles along either side of the main road of the Divar. The tempo set by band. The band is usually lofal. The beautifully coloured floats accompanied by colourfully dressed youngsters makes for quite a pretty picture.
There are scenes from a regular Goan kitchen, preparing the famous Goan Sausages, distilling the local brew “feni” or harvesting crop and feeding the cattle as farmyard scenes.
All these are interspersed with the exuberant participants young and old alike taking to the streets dancing and singing and their gaiety is so infectious that it is a spirited and participative audience joining in the revelry regardless of caste, creed, nationality or language.
Bonderam is a very popular monsoon festival in Goa that witnesses huge crowds from across Goa and world over.