Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Festival of Bonderam

Celebrated in Goa, this has been among the most awaited events of the year in the state for 25 years. An attraction during the eve of the harvest festival, Bonderam festival is a potpourri of cultures of different nationalities. The word 'Bonderam' is derived from the Portuguese word 'Bandera' which stands 'for flag'. This flag festival winds its way to the tribal age, originated as a result of quarrels within the community over ownership of farmlands. To get rid of such petty fights, different communities used colored banners to demarcate their boundaries.

With the arrival of Portuguese on these shores, a new way of showing their community was used. Instead of banners, flags of different nationalities were put on display during the colorful processions. This came to be known as Festival of Bonderam. Into its 25th year, one can judge the appeal of the festival by the number of people of different nationalities taking part in it.

At the crack of dawn, the awakening call, consisting of a three piece brass band, heralds the festival. A group of flag bearing children mark the commencement of the festival. Each gaily decorated float is punctuated in soft scores, depicting a theme. It is a showcase of talent and team effort from each ward in the village. 'Corridinho' , a form of Portuguese dance dominates the atmosphere. As a famous portuguese song drenches the atmosphere in festival mood, synchronized foot tapping and clapping makes every soul witnessing it, sway to the tunes and movement of the music. Another attraction is the performance of Goan 'Dekhnni' dancers that has a mix of Kathak and Bharath Natyam.

Ladies draped in exotic sarees perform to the beat of a song which combines the best of Indian and western to optimum. The air is stung by the next float that has heavy metal played on it, portraying the influx of DJ culture. After the floats exhibition, this Goan village rocks all night to the live bands.


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