: Divar Island, 12-km From Panjim, Goa
The main Bonderam festival is celebrated on the fourth Saturday of August. Bonderam is listed as a Hindu festival yet the morning starts with a large catholic population engaged in the ritual of cutting the first sheaf of rice in the paddy fields. This is ceremoniously done by the parish priest, followed by the Feast Mass. The festival includes colourful processions, floats, brass bands and mock battles emulating the property wars that excited the tribal folk here in days of yore.
The name Bonderam revolves around the involvement of flags which in itself is an interesting story. Frequent disputes which occurred between two wards (section of the village) - Piedalda and Sao Mathias - over property matters often led to bloody duels, and sometimes death.
Subsequently, the Portuguese introduced a system of demarcation of boundaries with flags of various nations. The rival groups, however, knocked down the demarcation flags sometimes with stones. Today, in a parody of the past, this is commemorated with a "Fotash" flight (toy weapon of bamboo stem) and berries are used as missiles in a mock fight between rival groups to knock down an offending flag.
On the day, a carnival ambience is created. Each ward of the village has a float at the parade. Though sponsored by business houses, the floats have an unmistakable local favour.
On this day, the quiant land of Divar, away from the hustle and bustle of Panjim, is agog with excitement. Melodious music drift from the village to mainland Old Goa - once the hub of Portuguese Goa - even before the crack of dawn on the Saturday. At noon people begin trickling into the village. By the evening the trickle is a deluge. An expectant crowd assembles along either side of the main through fare of the village. The tempo is set by lands and lasses wielding "fotashes" engaging themselves in mock battles. The gaily coloured floats accompanied by colourfully dressed youngsters make a pretty picture.
Bonderam', Which Ended Peacefully
Bonderam a flag festival from now on will be celebrated in a truly family friendly way and are here to stay, so future generation will continue to enjoy.