Festivals of Goa
Festival of Bonderam or Flags
The feast of Bonderam(flags) is celebrated on the fourth Saturday of August every year at Divar Island, 12-km from Panjim. 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 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.