What is Saraswati ceremony in Bali island
Knowledge is very important for Balinese. Every Saniscara, Umanis, Wuku Watugunung, they celebrate Saraswati Day, the knowledge day. It is based on the Pawukon (Balinese calendar) system and the Saniscara (seven day cycle).
The name Saraswati came from “Saras” meaning flow and “wati” meaning a women. So, Saraswati is symbol of knowledge, its flow (or growth) is like a river and knowledge is very interesting, like a beautiful women.
Saraswati is the Goddess of Knowledge, 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.
In the afternoon of Saraswati day we are not permitted to read or write the book because all the books are offered. In the evening, called Malam Sastra, people read books (especially religious books) in their houses or in the temple.
Pangredanan (the day before Saraswati)
This is the day of preparation. All the books and lontar are collected together, cleaned and dusted.
Saraswati day itself is celebrated by the Balinese people bringing offerings to their holy books and scrolls in their houses, while students celebrate it at school, usually in the morning, and the office-workers in their office. The philosophy of Saraswati day is that the most important thing for human life is knowledge.
The day after Saraswati Day is Banyu Pinaruh day. “Banyu” means water and “Pinaruh” mean wisdom. In other words, we must have wisdom which always flows like water and which is useful for human kind. We pray for Dewi Saraswati (manifestation of God) to give us cleverness and wisdom. The people usually take a bath in the sea or a lake or river and drink traditional medicine which is made from many various leaves which is very good for our health. The philosophy of Banyu Pinaruh day is the second most important thing for human life is good health.
Two days after Saraswati Day, on Soma (or Monday), Pon, Wuku Sinta, is Soma Ribek day. “Soma” meaning Monday, and “Ribek” meaning full. 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. This celebration remind them to be selective when choosing food and not to over eat to improve their health. The philosophy of Soma Ribek day is the third most important thing for human life is food and drink.
Three days after Saraswati Day, on Anggara (or Tuesday), Wage, Wuku Sinta, is Sabuh Mas day. “Sabuh” means belt, and “Mas” mean gold. 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 in our lives. This celebration remind them to be selective when spending money. The philosophy of Sabuh Mas day is the fourth most important thing for human life is cloth and gold, etc.
Four days after Saraswati Day, on Buda (or Wednesday), Kliwon, Wuku Sinta, is Pagerwesi day. “Pager” meaning fence and “Wesi” meaning iron. On this day, Balinese pray to Sang Hyang Pramesti Guru (manifestation of God). All Balinese have offerings to their Sanggah (temple in their home) and at all of their temples. 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.