The “Bonderam” festival is celebrated on the Island of Divar on the fourth Saturday of August every year. The word “Bomderam” originated from the involvement of flags. “Bandeira” is the Portuguese word for the Flag. It is stated that during the Portuguese rule in Goa there were frequent disputes between two sections of the Divar village, namely Sao Mathias and Piedade over property issues. These often led to violence and fights in the village. To find a solution to this problem, the Portuguese introduced a system of demarcation of boundaries with flags.
The rival groups used to knock down the flags with stones. In memory of the during the Bonderam festival people used to use the “fotash”, an instrument made of bamboo, and berries/peper corns were used as missiles in a mock fight between rival groups and also those participating in the festival. However, today this practice is stopped as it used to result in eye injuries etc. The festival is a memoir to the protest by the local villagers against the Portuguese while trying to resolve the property ownership disputes.
The island of Divar comes to life on the day of the Bomderam festival. Divar being situated at a distance of 12 kilometers from Panjim is away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The Bonderam festival starts with a flag parade from the main Divar junction which is accompanied by the brass band and then the declaration of the “Bonderam” festival open. Later there is a fancy dress competition which is followed by the traditional float parade. Divar village has six wards and each ward of the village has a float at the parade. This is followed by a live band performance by the famous music bands of Goa. This is a very popular monsoon festival in Goa and it draws huge crowds from all parts of Goa and world over. Viva Bonderam.