The Bonderam festival is celebrated in Goa on the fourth Saturday of August every year. This year it’ll be going down at Divar Island – A place that’s been the home of Bonderam for centuries. 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. Bonderam revolves around the involvement of flags which in itself is an interesting story. More on that below.
Bonderam Festival in Goa 2018 : A brief history
Many years back, the villagers of Divar 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 in the nearby villages. Infuriated villagers protested against this system by knocking down all the flags. The Bonderam festival is celebrated in the memory of these very protests.
Image courtesy : Goafestival.in
Bonderam Festival in Goa 2018 : Divar Island
Although the beautiful islands of Divar in Goa is just a short distance away from Panjim City, it is rarely on the bucket list of most tourists. Chorao island is yet another island that sits alongside Divar. Both are a great spot for bird watching. A yacht ride in Goa is the perfect way to get a taste of this tranquil and picturesque setting during the Bonderam Festival in Goa.
The river area that surrounds Divar consists of mangrove vegetation. Mangrove ecosystems in Goa are amongst the most underrated.
Bonderam? What does that even mean?
The word “Bonderam” originated from the involvement of flags in protests that took place. “Bandeira” is the Portuguese word for the Flag.
Bonderam Festival in Goa 2018: What to expect
On the day of Bonderam feast in Goa, you are almost certain on hearing and even feeling the excitement in the air. This is perhaps the noisiest this tiny island ever be in the entire year.
Even before the sun rises, you are almost certain to hear the melodious music drift from the village and into mainland Old Goa. Did you know that Old Goa was once the hub of Portuguese Goa instead of Panjim?
At noon people begin trickling into the village. By the evening the trickle turns into a massive crowd.
Every year at the Bonderam festival. The crowd assembles along either side of the main road of the Divar. The tempo is set by a band. The band is usually lofal. People wielding fake shields and swords engage in mock battles. The beautifully colored floats accompanied by colorfully dressed youngsters makes for quite a pretty picture.
Bonderam Festival in Goa 2018: Food to expect
Unfortunately, being set during the fishing off-season is a bummer. Don’t expect the usual delicacies like Kingfish and squid. But of course, there are always alternatives. Just like every other Catholic feast in Goa, expect a wide variety of delicacies at Bonderam 2018. Choris, Cutlet Panv, Sausages, open-air barbeques, prawns and of course – Ross omelette. To name a few.
Bonderam Festival in Goa 2018: Afterhours
As is the case with most Goan festivals. The sun sets and it’s time to party. Youngsters shake a leg as the DJs and the live band pump up some tunes. But of course. The main show of the even is the Konkani music. Be sure to join in when classics like Maria Pitache and Bebdo get played on repeat all night long.
To Sum up. Bonderam festival in Goa is a truly not-to-be-missed attraction. You’re almost guaranteed to see something new every year. Viva Bonderam !
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