Culture of Daman & Diu
Over the centuries, Daman & Diu came under the rules of various ancient kings, Mughals and Portuguese. Mughals ruled over Daman and Diu for over two centuries and Portuguese ruled this region for the longest period, that is, over 450 years until it was freed in 1961; and later became a union territory of India in 1987. So, the culture of Daman and Diu is largely influenced by traditions of these empires that ruled over this region. In addition, the region draws striking similarity with culture of neighboring Gujarat state. Gujarati is one of the widely spoken languages in this union territory apart from Hindi, English, Marathi and Portuguese. Mat weaving, ivory carving and tortoise shell crafts are the popular arts and crafts of this region. Damn and Diu is also known for its Portuguese folk dances such as Vira dance, Mando dance and Verdigao dance. Papri is a typical cuisine of Daman and Diu.
Arts and Crafts
Mat weaving forms an important art and craft of Daman region. A number of folks and traditional motifs are used to make beautiful mats out of mat weaving. Ivory carving and tortoise shell crafts are popular arts and crafts of Diu region. The availability of different varieties of tortoise on the shores of Diu has largely facilitated the growth of tortoise shell craft in this region. Many of the household and decorative items are made out of tortoise shells.
Daman and Diu is known for its Portuguese folk dances such as Mando dance, Verdigao dance and Vira dance that are being performed on special occasions. Most of the dance’s themes are based on festivity, eating, singing and drinking. People of Daman and Diu also organize folk dance festival. These folk dances are performed in slow motions where both elders and youngsters participate in traditional dance. Garba is another folk dance in this union territory. Garba dance has its origin in Gujarat state. This dance is performed by women folks attired in multicolored costumes and beautiful ornaments.
Folk music constitutes a popular form of music in this region. The folk music of ancient times, Portuguese tradition and neighboring Gujarati music are being embraced to this day. Garba folk music is generally sung in praise of Goddess.
The principal languages spoken in this Union territory are Gujarati, Marathi, Portuguese, Hindi and English. However, English is being used as an official language in this union territory.
The population of Daman and Diu is over 242,911. The male population in the region is estimated to be over 150,100 and female population is around 92,811. The people of Daman and Diu are highly hospitable, friendly and jovial. They have similar customs and tradition as that of neighboring Gujarat state. Majority of people in Daman and Diu follow Hinduism.
The cuisines of Daman and Diu comprise of sea food and Chinese food. Papri is the typical dish served in the households of Daman and Diu. Papri is a boiled, sweet and salt peas. Crabs and lobsters are other cuisines of this region. Lobsters and crabs are seasonal dishes widely available in October month.
Hinduism is the major religion in this union territory. The majority of people in Daman and Diu are Hindus. Islam and Christianity are other religions embraced by people of Daman and Diu. Despite existence of diverse religion in the region, people celebrate all the festivals with great pomp and enthusiasm.
Fairs & Festivals
People of this region celebrate numerous festivals. The important festivals celebrated in Daman and Diu are Navrathri festival, Garba festival, Folk Dance Festival, Gangaji fair, Holi, Dushera, Diwali, Id and Xmas. The Navrathri festival is the biggest festival in Daman and Diu and is being celebrated with great pomp and grandeur. The Garba festival is being observed for nine days where youngsters participate in dance wearing bright and colorful costumes. The main part of Garba festival is paying homage to Goddess Amba. This festival begins with traditional rituals involving the worship of Goddess Amba followed by devotional songs and dances. The festival is held in the month of October or November. The Folk Dance Festival is another important festival of Daman and Diu. The region is also known for Gangaji fair which is being held annually in Dabhel village near Somnatha Mahadev temple. This fair attracts large people of people from within the union territory as well as from other neighboring states.
The culture of Daman and Diu is blend of many culture and traditions. The region has absorbed rich culture and traditions of earliest dynasties, Mughals and Portuguese. Despite the presence of diverse culture, people of Daman and Diu live in absolute harmony and celebrate all the festivals with great pomp and enthusiasm.