Bali Culture – Saraswati Day
Today the 21st of January 2017 is Saraswati day in Bali. Saraswati day is held every six months (210 days), on Saturday of Watugunung (the last week in the Balinese calendar). The word Saraswati is derived from the Sanskrit words sara and swaandthi; meaning the one who gave essence or meaning and the one who knows. Saraswati also means the one that flows as a river of knowledge which will give wealth and enlightenment to those who are willing to learn or study.
This day is a traditional Balinese holiday to celebrate the day when knowledge is given by God through the beautiful goddess Saraswati. the Goddess of Knowledge. She is symbolized by a beautiful woman with four hands, riding on a white swan among water lilies to tell humanity that science is like a beautiful woman. Her hands hold a palm leaf; a lontar, (a Balinese traditional book which is the source of science or knowledge); a chain (genitri with 108 pieces) symbolising that knowledge is never ending and has an everlasting life cycle; and a musical instrument (guitar or wina) symbolising that science develops through the growth of culture. The swans symbolise prudence, so that one’s knowledge may distinguish between good and evil and the water lilies (Lotus) are symbols of holiness. The Lotus flower is the holiest for Balinese
Pangredanan (the day before Saraswati) is the day of preparation. All the books and scrolls are collected together, cleaned and dusted.
Saraswati day is celebrated by making offerings and praying at home, in temples, schools and offices. The Balinese also put offerings on their books and scriptures due to books and scriptures being classic sources of knowledge.
Banyu Pinaruh is the day after Saraswati and people usually take a bath in the sea or a lake or river and drink traditional medicine for good health.
Soma Ribek is two days after Saraswati Day. On this day, Balinese bring offerings to the rice box. They thank God for food and beverage in their lives and pray to Dewi Sri (Goddess of prosperity, manifestation of God) to give prosperity.
Three days after is Sabuh Mas. On this day, Balinese bring offerings to the deposit box or the place where they keep their jewelry. They thank Mahadewa (manifestation of God) for cloth, money, gold, etc
Four days after is Pagerwesi and the Balinese pray to Sang Hyang Pramesti Guru (manifestation of God). This is the second biggest holiday after Galungan day for the Balinese. The philosophy of this celebration is that they must keep knowledge, health, food, cloth and gold high in their lives to keep the universe in balance.
To find out more about the Balinese culture try one of our Bali land tours.