August 24, 2019.
Where: Divar Island, Goa.
Bonderam is perhaps one of Goa’s most interesting, unique and cool festivals. It’s held nowhere else in the world and the tradition has everything to do with Goa.
Celebrated on the fourth Saturday of August on Goa’s Divar Island, the Bonderam festival has come to become one of the most popular festivals in Goa. The festival is closely linked to the beautiful and peaceful Divar’s island’s history and is celebrated in the memory of the dissents who had raised their voice against the manner in which land disputes were handled on the island. The island which is a mere 12 km from Panjim, has become something of a spot on account of the growing popularity of the festival.
The word “Bonderam” originated from the involvement of flags in protests that took place. “Bandeira” is the Portuguese word for the Flag. The land disputes which originated during the Portuguese era amongst the various inhabiting clans of the island were settled using the multi-coloured flags which the locals protested against and now the very flags have now become an integral part of the festival.
The day begins early on the day of the festival and even before sunrise, you hear the melodic music drifting through the air. As the day progresses, the people begin to trickle into the village. The beginning of the festival is marked with a brass band and a parade, festooned with multi-coloured flags as the crowd assembles on either side of the main road of Diwar. People wielding fake shields and swords engage in mock battles. The festival boasts several other events like a traditional float parade, fancy dress competition as well as performances from famous music bands from Goa.
The islanders ensure that there is a festival-like atmosphere here as they commend this celebration. Groups both big and small gather from across Goa to celebrate the festival and people come collectively in a spirit of togetherness. If you are in and around Goa during this time, then try not to miss is an amazing festival.