Once every 210 days (the Balinese Pawukon Calender), Bali will celebrate Saraswati, or, freely translated, “Knowledge Day”.
Saraswati is the Hindu goddess of knowledge, music, arts, wisdom and nature. She is symbolized by an attractive woman with a white swan among water lilies.
The swan symbolizes prudence, so that one’s knowledge is able to distinguish between good and evil. The water lilies & lotus flowers are symbols of holiness.
Saraswati has four hands in which she holds;
- A Lontar. This is a traditional Balinese book that is the source of science or knowledge.
- A chain with 108 pieces. This symbolizes that knowledge never ends and has an everlasting life cycle.
- A musical instrument (guitar or wina). This symbolizes that science develops through the growth of culture.
On Saraswati day the Balinese will bring offerings to the holy books and scrolls in their houses. Students will celebrate Saraswati at school usually in the morning. Balinese people who have an office job will make offerings at their office.
In the afternoon, the Balinese are not allowed to read or write books because all the books are blessed. In the evening, people will read books (preferably religious books) at home or in the temple.
These are the upcoming Saraswati dates;
- 21 January 2017
- 19 August 2017
- 17 March 2018 (same day as Nyepi 2018)
- 13 October 2018
Four days after Saraswati comes Pagerwesi.
Pagerwesi (or iron fence) is the day when the Balinese strengthen their minds and souls against evil forces (the iron fence is a representation of strong self-preservation).
On this day, the Balinese focus on personal strength building. They do this to make sure that evil will not enter their mind, speech and actions so they don’t harm their surroundings.
The God who is worshiped today is “Sanghyang Paramesti Guru”. This god is responsible for wiping out all bad and evil beings in the world.
In Bali, Pagerwesi is considered a really important holiday. It is celebrated in a similar way to Galungan Day and this includes the tall decorated bamboo poles or “penjors”.
The Balinese Hindu will pray in their houses and visit temples to show gratitude to Sanghyang Paramesti Guru.
The upcoming Pagerwesi dates are;
- 25 January 2017
- 23 August 2017
- 21 March 2018
- 17 October 2018
Would you like to learn more about the fascinating Balinese culture?
“The best book on Bali for the serious visitor…Has the freshness of personal experience.”—Dr. Hildred Geertz, author of Kinship in Bali and Professor of Anthropology at Princeton University