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Viva Damão! Keep the culture alive: First “WORLD DAMAN DAY” Celebrated Worldwide on 20th August 2008

The first-ever, “WORLD DAMAN DAY” was celebrated by people of Daman origin living outside India in countries like the UAE, USA, Canada, Holland, Macau, Portugal and the UK along with the 9th “World Goa Day” on invitation from its London-based founder, Rene Barreto. The month-long celebrations were undoubtedly, the biggest worldwide Damanense party in the history of Daman!

World Daman Day like World Goa Day, is primarily celebrated outside of India in an effort to first establish identity and later turn it into a brand as Goa has already done. The date, though significant for Goa vis-à-vis the status of the Konkani language, isn’t of any significance to Daman. But there was the benefit of getting a helping hand from the much-experienced organizers of WGD. In any case, ultimately, it was the spirit that counted and which turned a black number on the calendar into a red-letter day!

The theme for World Daman Day ’08 was, “Viva Damão! Keep the culture alive!” The imposing centuries-old monuments, customs and traditions have withstood the test of time – all 450 years of them – but it is the culture that breathes life into them.

The motto was to promote, publicize and celebrate all things Damanense by showcasing the unique Damanense cultural heritage, expressed culturally and artistically.

Cock in the shadow of the peacock
A heady blend of Indian and Portuguese cultures, the Indo-Portuguese subculture of Daman is obviously multicultural, multilingual and multiracial yet always in beautiful melodic harmony. When the Portuguese spelling of the word, ‘Daman’ is broken up into its two syllables, it reveals the secret behind the characteristic hospitality of the typical Damanense – ‘Da mão’ – which literally translates as, ‘give me your hand,’ meaning, ‘welcome!’ Says Asunta Franco, Country Coordinator for Fujairah, “You can take a Damanense out of Daman but you can never take Damão out of a Damanense.” It truly is a way of life, for life!

UK – Leicester & Peterborough
The largest body of Damanenses outside India is based in the UK comprising largely Catholics, Hindus and Muslims who have literally transplanted the culture on to British soil. Says Franco Fonseca, Peterborough-based Country Coordinator for the UK, “the British come to observe our social and cultural events but not with the intention of adapting to the culture… they have adoption in mind.” The month-long festival held in Leicester and Peterborough showcased Damanense cuisine, folklore, folksongs, Damanense Mando, Portuguese folk dance, art and sport… “We included games like Sete Telhas, Jili Patta and Inti-tolla even though these are now sidelined in Daman itself,” says Luis Fonseca, Overall Coordinator for Leicester.

UAE – Dubai, Sharjah & Fujairah
The three country coordinators for the UAE organized cultural, culinary and sporting events as well as picnics and excursions, which included a visit to a Portuguese fort in Fujairah. Lysa Lopes, the coordinator for Sharjah, uploaded some of her best Damanense recipes on the WDD-08 website. Tourists to Daman often ask where they can sample Damanense or Indo-Portuguese cuisine. Damanense food is not served in any of the hotels though many label some items on their menu as ‘Daman special.’ The grand finale of the month-long celebrations was in Fujairah, where Damanenses from Sharjah and Dubai joined in a gala event of music, dancing, games and a traditional Damanense dinner.

Daman – Will the real Slim Shady please stand up?
On reading about WDD-08 in the Hindustan Times and the Times of India, Damanenses in Daman too wanted to join in the partying. “The whole world is celebrating and what are we doing about it?” asked Mr. Fremiot Mendonca, the go-to person when researching the local history and culture of Daman. In a matter of minutes, the Damanenses in Daman got their act together, using nothing but their telephones!

The ‘elders’ and the not-so-young were not only more enthusiastic than the youth… they knew what they wanted. Louella Rocha, overall coordinator for Daman, had a list of Do’s & Don’t’s – “no Slim Shady stuff, please… it’s got to be proper ballroom music; no colas, please… it’s got to be wine or rather cake ‘n’ wine; no ‘English’ mass… it’s got to be in Portuguese; no artificial flowers for decking the hall… only ‘kajooree’ palm fronds please…” ‘Viva Damão’ is not just lip service for the Damanenses – it’s the real thing and they don’t just ‘do it’ – they do it right! So, though late in getting into the groove, Damanenses in Daman perceive it as a new beginning and look forward to WDD-09.

Truly global community, bonding on the Internet
During the planning and execution of WDD-08 on a global scale, country coordinators and their team members as well as other Net savvy Damanenses worldwide, made good use of the Internet to achieve so much in so little time – a mere two months from idea to fruition!

The first step was setting up a website at http://web.mac.com/noelgama/wdd08 which was bombarded with traffic minutes after Rene Barreto shot out his press release on the Internet.

As WDD-08 came closer to D-Day, everyone felt that the festival was already turning into a movement! To keep the momentum and meet public demand, “Daman Global” was launched on Google Groups at http://groups.google.com/group/daman-global – a place to network, share news, make announcements and to do what Damanenses do best and enjoy most… gossip!

This is being followed up with the first global eZine, “Daman Global eNewsmagazine” which will bring news updates from all the countries where Damanenses live in. The inaugural issue is being released this month. Subscriptions are accepted online on the WDD-08 website.

A website with the most comprehensive and authoritative information on Daman is being launched next month at www.Discover-Daman.com.

World Goa, Daman & Diu Day ’08
For the first time, Damanenses, especially those in Daman, found that they were doing it for themselves – unlike other times when they’d be programmed to perform the tired ‘vira’ (known locally as ‘Portuguese Dance’) for visiting ministers. The Damanenses in the UK proved that just performing the ‘vira’ on stage is not what culture is about… it’s beyond that, more inclusive and much, much bigger… it’s a way of life – the Damanense way of life.

“Let’s keep the spirit and wish in our hearts – to one day celebrate World Goa, Daman & Diu Day,” says Lysa Lopes, Country Coordinator for Sharjah, UAE. Well, it had always been “Goa, Daman & Diu” until some politicians in Goa decided to delink two of the smaller siblings. Remo Fernandes’ hit song could be tweaked just a bit to make it more specific – “Politicians in Goa don’t know how to do the mando!”

Viva Damão!


Message from Founder of World Goa Day
World Goa Day is in its ninth year but WORLD DAMAN DAY is in its very first year. The WDD-08 celebrations have come about from a suggestion put by me to Noël Gama in Daman, India two months ago in mid-June. But the progress they have made in those two months is just unimaginable! Noël and his Global team of Damanenses could make any community proud of them. The progress in these celebrations have been exceptional – a very good example for us, Goans.

My congratulations to the people of Daman! I am proud to be associated with the people of Daman and with their overall leader and founder of WORLD DAMAN DAY, Noël Gama!

Rene Barreto
London, UK

27 replies
  1. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    well done noel we all the damanion of the globe are proud that we have a person who has put daman on the globle map,good luck and all the best


    leroy machado

  2. silvestre
    silvestre says:

    its sad that the portuguese language is vanishing from daman and all our culture.I hope with your influence you could help bring the language of portuguese to daman once more, so future generations will never know about our portuguese culture.


    leroy machado

  3. Noel Gama
    Noel Gama says:

    That’s a great suggestion, Silvestre – I hadn’t thought of that!

    The theme of WDD-08 was, “Viva Damao! Keep the Culture Alive!””

    The theme for WDD-09 is, “Viva Damao! Come, Discover Daman…”

    I propose the theme for 2010 – “Viva Damao! Eu Falo Portuguesa Damanense!”

  4. Noel Gama
    Noel Gama says:

    When you select Portuguese from the language drop-down menu on your word processor or on the internet, there are two choices in brackets viz.,

    Portuguese (European)
    Portuguese (Brazilian)

    Let’s have ours too…

    Portuguese (Damanense)

    Viva Damao!

    Noel Gama

  5. silvestre
    silvestre says:

    the theme for 2010 – “Viva Damao! Eu Falo Portuguesa Damanense!”

    Thanks Noel for the theme Eu Falo Portuguesa Damanense for 2010.
    if you could influence people in Daman and abroad to talk the original portuguese language and the Damanese dilect of Damense Portuguese if I could say, so both the dilects of portuguese will survive in Daman and out side India.

    Thanks Once again
    Silvestre Machado

  6. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Portuguese language in daman?

    Well, I say its a mixture of portuguese from brasil, angola, timor even a hint of columbian. but not portuguese (portugal). I have even heard people say “ele falo portugues como gente de badrapor”.

    In fact Many of damanese appearance is also like brazilian, columbian and some are from black african and indian origin.

    As for portuguese mass its for the portuguese learned people only. someone like me to attend mass in portuguese is like attending prayers in a hindu temple.

    portugues? are we lost. any hope??.

    de portu-merd.

  7. silvestre
    silvestre says:

    reply to Anonymous

    you do not have a clue to what your saying ?
    ,do you know your self?
    has for being portuguese mass its for the portuguese learned people only. someone like me to attend mass in portuguese is like attending prayers in a hindu temple.
    This is aperson without understanding of what portuguese is
    for your kind information Anonymous or who ever you are a lot
    of our people for daman has studied
    in portugal and includes myself.
    what a lot of crape cut it out .

  8. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    no Silvestre sorry I dont know about myself! I wish I knew.

    Do you know where you originate european or portuguese or just a mere INDIAN convert?

    Open your eyes and ears you will notice Hindi-Gujarati- Brasilian- Columbian-Timor and english words are most commonly used in Portuguese language we speak. Like I said before we are mixed like brazilian,columbian and some black(african)etc. Very few port blood is running in our Daman community.

    Holding port passport does not make one portugues. like I hold british passsport does not make me white.

    I had little or no portuguese education. I have realised I pray in portuguese taught by the cathecist but I dont know what I am reciting(meaning). And there are many more of me’s out there.

    In a few years the so called portugues damanese will not exist. our priest itself cannot cope with portuguese. The education we receive is in english.

    Now do you know what I mean as to why I am frustrated. If im wrong help me out I am all earssssss


  9. silvestre
    silvestre says:

    so you are one us damanese and in the uk, but with no portuguese education
    and you do not understand portuguese
    recitation.I sypathise with you
    for not knowing portuguese ,but for fact of that you say that we are converts,yes may be and some of us have poruguese blood is right,
    but all our people are born in daman and attached to the portuguese who were good to our people,they even inter maried at the time.
    It does not matter if we are real portuguese or not,but their way of life,their culture,their welcoming ways we have adopted with love.
    daman is more indian but with portuguese love .
    I do not know if you get the message.
    I say that the indian side has done for us.most of our people are here through portuguese passports not through indian pasports.we have to thank the portuguese pasport for bring us to the uk.
    You are right if we do not not learn the portuguese language we will not exist.
    I will be posting a message to noel and the comunity of daman in leicester about the importance of portuguese language.
    My friend as for you I know about your fustration about not knowing our existance i sypathise with you.

  10. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    silvestre Thank you for forwarding this message to our fellow damanese.

    To save our remaining unique language we need to STOP using indian words in our sentences.

    you are educated in portugal thats why you understand proper portuguese. My argument is not about culture we are just following what our ancestors did.
    I am upset the way we were taught portuguese in church and our elders not knowing proper portugues.

    daman is a lazy, happy go lycky live for today town I dont deny that I would still prefer to live and die in daman.

    I would like a little chang so we can lift our heads up and say we are damanese.

    the one and only credit i give to the portuguese is portuguese passports nothing else.

    viva damao,

    portu-da nada

  11. silvestre
    silvestre says:

    Hi Anonymous
    I have to give you some credit
    by the way you say

    To save our remaining unique
    language we need to STOP using indian words in our sentences and
    that us the truth.
    you also say that
    I would like a little chang so we can lift our heads up and say we are damanese.
    please learn portuguese and then your fustrations will leave you.
    I understand that you do not like the porttuguse because you think
    they did not teach us the right portuguese language, but you are wrong in fact till the end of portuguese where here schools
    taugh portuguese,it was after they left the real erouble started the indiangoverment did not incourage the language of portuguese to be taught in the schools that’s why
    we have the deminishing existance of portuguese language and the
    problem of you and many like you not knowing and studying this beautiful language.It’s still not late.
    the Indian goverment shoot a lot
    of our own people during the 1961 indian liberation,how do you feel about them.
    If you see the situation india right now what do you see attacks on christian unhurmed people just
    because we are different the
    hindus of india have left no one
    and the indian goverment is just looking to what is happening.
    I am proud to say that we are different but have both indian and portuguese sides.
    viva daman
    If you like it or not you have a portuguese and indian identity and you should be proud of it then only and then only my friend you will have peace within you.
    I hope this will change and heal you.
    peace be with you
    viva daman

    silvestre machado

  12. Noël Gama
    Noël Gama says:

    Hey, Port -X,

    I like your comments and love your sig – ‘Portu – merd,’ ‘Portu – pork,’ ‘Portu – da nada!’

    When will you reveal your ID? I’m curious to know..;)

    But jokes aside, this is good feedback – keep on posting!


  13. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    afeter some calls emails and research….

    Mr Silvester or Leroy whoever you are I do not wish to offend you but I discovered you have not lived in daman for long nor do you have any portuguese vocubalary. so please dont ask me to learn portuguese. I can communicate verbally with the damanese very well. My problem is getting it right.

    May be you dont like my theory of daman people are from various countries. Ok The british left india but till today there are British Library in the major cities of India. Why cant we have Portuguese library in Daman sponsored by the “Portuguese” gov.

    In regards to attacks on christians its a very complex and sensitive issue. I agree the church is helping the poor and abandoned a lot however (“What your right hand is doing your left hand should not know”) the church is not following that in return they expect the people to convert to christianity.

    Would you like a non catholic person knock your door and try to convert you into a different religion?.

    Still like true christians lets forgive them and turn the other cheek.

    Potu – x

  14. silvestre
    silvestre says:

    HI Anonymous

    Yes It,s what you said was
    right I do not have a degree in portuguese for your
    information ,but i did go to school in portugal .Has for my speaking Portuguese I never spoke
    it in daman because the portuguese is very different from what i learnt as for the sources in daman or london they never know me that well for them to judge me.If you learn or not is not my concern
    or regarding me .The source who have given information about me neither they know me or do know
    to speak the proper Portuguese language.Yes you say i never lived in daman for a long time that’s right
    and yet i have regards and love
    for that place but you my friend and your so called sources should
    be ashamed of your selves on how you all think about the land that you all were born.
    you were the one to open your book of countless so called fustrations
    in front of the whole bloody WORLD.
    I was the one to bloody sympathise
    with you and listen to your crap and you blame the church for not teaching you people portuguese bloody crap.
    Its a bloody shame you accuse christian churches to convert other religions in no manner our churches are doing that, I now understand
    people like you,who are shaking in their belief in their own religion should be crowned with a golden crown. It looks like your name really suits your personality potu x.
    It’s typical daman political crap to show the other person down when it is your bloody problem.
    you guys instead of
    appriciating good advice on return you disgrace the other person who is trying to help you ,
    that is why people like you never comes up you people will remain in

  15. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    look mr. Silvestre theres no need to get personal. I have nothing against you. I did not state you are un-educated. You did!. To clarify I mentioned vocubalary. I can read and write sanskirit to some extent but mu vocubalary is crap so I dont understand as to why you are so pissed off.

    olha vou faser mais simplo. este e um blog. eu escreva meu sentimento e penssment que esta revirando no meu cabeca poriso que eu queiria distribuir em todos. se nao gosto, bem, nao preciso faser sermao. Dise que eu nao aceita. Comprende?

    I did not slag our damao or any catholic organisation all I mentioned is 1.who we are 2. the language we speak 3.and the church taught us prayers but did not explain its meaning. is that too much for you to understand?. Re conversion lets not touch that topic as i said its too sensitive.

    You may not agree that damanese and its language are from various parts of the globe. Now would you agree to Darwins theory of evolution?. My theory too is based on some evidence i’ve seen and heard around me. Dont like it? then please stay out of it.

    In terms of religion mentioning “attending port mass is as attending temple” is a figure of speech you Do. Do. As for our priest, Ghandi said I Love Christ not Christians. Now you understand what I mean?

    So please dont doubt me my love for Damao my love for the church. I just want us to improve ourselves into a better future for every one.

    I rest my case.

    I am sorry Noel if this is pissing you off.

    portu – Ca. Ra. Ilha.

    ps. can you please not escalate it any further. thanks

  16. silvestre
    silvestre says:

    you are the one to escalate the situation first you insult a person who is trying to sypathise with you then you say not to escalate the situation,just because you are so called Anonymous.
    My friend you are the one who is came as Anonymous and difacing daman history and giving it names.
    If you are man enough came out with with your so called Anonymous mask
    Noel toowants to know who you are.

  17. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Ok you still dont get it do you?
    I dont need any ones sympathy. Definately you dont know what you are talking about.

    Please “wake up” and quote me any difacing comments I made on Daman.

    even Noel Said

    Hey, Port -X,

    I like your comments and love your sig – ‘Portu – merd,’ ‘Portu – pork,’ ‘Portu – da nada!’

    When will you reveal your ID? I’m curious to know..;)

    But jokes aside, this is good feedback – keep on posting!



  18. Noël Gama
    Noël Gama says:

    Don’t we all know it – that’s why everyone believed so much in the parting words, “havemos de voltar” (pardon my spellings) more than the possibility of the Beatles ever reuniting!


  19. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    MMMM… Intresting! So will you be doing any shows? Good money to be made though. And now there are no bands(proper) in Daman.
    I remember a few of your hit performance including a function for Fr Dias something… something
    you sang in portuguese ha! 24amores


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