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.
Goddess Saraswati and The Meaning of The Symbols
Saraswati day is an essential day for Hinduism, especially for students, education practitioners, and for all people in general as we should learn in a lifetime. Hindus believe that Saraswati is the day of science that comes down to earth for prosperity, progress, peace, and increasing human civilization.
Saraswati is the Goddess of a protective/abundance of knowledge, awareness, and literature. Goddess Saraswati is symbolized as a beautiful Goddess in white that sitting down on a lotus and riding a goose. Goddess Saraswati has four hands that hold music instruments and holy scriptures. All of them have a different meaning that relates to each other.
A Beautiful Woman
A beautiful woman symbolizes the strength that is beautiful, attractive, gentle, and noble. The beautiful woman describes the Goddess Saraswati and explains how impressive the knowledge is.
Rosary beads symbolize eternity and the extensive knowledge that will never run out to be learned. Rosary beads, which are used to do Japa Mantra (chanting the spells continuously), mean that science/knowledge is vast and learned consistently both in formal and informal education.
Holy Scriptures symbolize that science/knowledge is sacred and represents how knowledge can lead humans to the enlightenment.
Lotus symbolizes the purity of God.
Goose symbolizes wisdom. When foraging, geese can distinguish between food and mud. Therefore, knowledge helps humans to differentiate between the good and the bad ones.
Music instruments symbolize culture. Art is an amusement of a distracted mind, so do the science/knowledge. Science/knowledge is a long-lasting beauty or entertainment that can be enjoyed for a long lifetime.
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
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.
- Banyu Pinaruh
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.
- Soma Ribek
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.
- Sabuh Mas
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.