History of Bonderam Festival
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, fights and sometimes death in the village. To find a solution to this problem, the Portuguese introduced a system of demarcation of boundaries with flags. The rival groups, however in resentment knocked down the demarcation of flags by pelting stones at them.
The island of Divar comes to life on the day of the Bonderam festival. Divar being situated at a distance of 12kms 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.
Presently in a parody of the past the occasion is commemorated by using a "Fotash", an instrument made of bamboo, and berries or peppercorns 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. In fact, the Divar Center’s float "Bonderam in Peace", displayed a large green Fotash to signify the end of the ethnic element in the Bonderam festivity. The festival is a memoir to the protest by the local villagers against the Portuguese while trying to resolve the property ownership disputes.Each of the floats tried to bring out essence of Goan heritage and the natural grandeur of the emerald island to the best of their abilities. The floats had groups of young dancers in colourful attire. It attracts people from all over Goa to the picturesque island.
On the commemoration day a carnival ambience is formed. Each region of the village has a float at the parade which is usually sponsored by business houses and has a local flavour. Melodious music could be heard throughout the village. The gaily colored floats accompanied by colorfully dressed youngsters make a pretty picture.