23rd August, 2014 marked the centuries old tradition of celebrating Bonderam Festival of Divar Island as a spectacular destination for engaging, family fun. The usually calm and quite Divar island comes alive with the vibrant festive spirit. The festival is a memoir to the dispute and the fury of the Villagers over the Portuguese system of resolving the disputes. The villagers often indulged in some kind of fight over the matter of land ownership. To stop the disputes the Portuguese, put up flags at the boundaries. The villagers protested against this system by throwing stones at the flags. The Bonderam festival is celebrated in the memory of those protests. A carnival ambiance is created with an outburst of tradition and joy that engulfs locals while providing photogenic entertainment for travelers lucky enough to crash the party.
The festival of flags was marked with color, whimsy, extraordinary entertainment, a DJ performance and live band on Saturday night! Even the ferries were draped with colorful flags to welcome its guests. The festival began in the evening with a colorful flag parade to the beat of a brass band. This was followed by costume contests for kids and adults. From toddlers showing up as mangoes & grapes to adults dressing up as a tiger, food vendor and even as an escaped Brazilian fan carrying FIFA cup, everybody put forward their best.
Without much delay began the parade of floats which was full of colorful surprises and characters! Each ward participated to showcase their floats on a particular theme accompanied with waving banner, dance performances by young and old, all shaking a leg to the foot tapping Goan music. Be it the old man who came singing along with the message of “Remember me always” on his hat, or the man who came dressed as a JCB machine depicting the flaws of industrialization, or the young fisher women dancing with their basket of fish, each of the floats tried to bring out essence of Goan heritage and the natural grandeur of the island to the best of their abilities.
Commendable was the fact that quite a lot of native elements like the fisherfolk, Goan festival and agriculture were featured prominently. Themes based on traditional occupation, saving environment, the famous Sao-jao festival and the romantic cruises of Goa were the highlights. As the mood set in, with food and drinks flowing, in came the DJ with best of his mixes followed by the performance of famous Goan band forefront. Chief Guest of the event was none other than honorable tourism minister of India Mr. Shripad Naik. Special mention to the Goan police force who managed the crowd and event so well. The party resembled a honeycomb swelling up with more and more bees, as the day turned to night. The extravagant parades, rhythm of the music, colorful costumes, the enthusiasm of Bonderam was indeed contagious. An exciting and creative spectacle that no visitor will ever forget.