Saraswati Day - a day to honor the Goddess of Knowledge and Wisdom
Balinese Hindu believes that knowledge is an essential medium to achieve the goal of life as a human being. Saraswati Day is celebrated to honor God as source of the knowledge. God, in this particular celebration, is manifested as Saraswati Dewi, Goddess Saraswati.
She is depicted as a beautiful lady with four hands holding a musical instrument, meditation bead chain, as well as palm leaf manuscript. Many times the Saraswati is depicted to be standing on the swan. The beautiful lady is a symbol that the knowledge is attractive by many people. The musical instrument symbolized the knowledge is entertaining, the more you are into it the more beautiful and interesting it can be. The manuscript (or book) is where the knowledge is kept. The chain is a symbol that knowledge is never finish to learn, there is no beginning and ending.
Similar to other religious rites in Bali, Saraswati day also has various religious steps before and after the actual day. Six days before Saraswati is Pemelastali , a day to free our selves from worldly desire. Four days and the following days before Saraswati are called Paid Paidan, Urip and Patetegan which mean days to control desire, constantly do introspection by holding the purity of the knowledge. On day before Saraswati is called Pengeredanaan, a day to prepare Saraswati Day both spiritually and physically. Book are collected, cleaned and placed in properly places. Special offerings are made to be used for the following celebration.
Saraswati Day is celebrated every 210-days on Saniscara Umanis Wuku Watugunung based on Balinese Pawukon (cycles) calender. On the actual day of Saraswati , offering are placed on the books and shrines. Worships are held at the temples in family compound, villages, businesses and others from morning to noon. Prime worships are held in school's temples attended by its student and teachers. In the afternoon and evening is a good time to held religious discussion.
The following day of Saraswati is called Banyupinaruh, a day to have spiritual and physical cleansing. Normally Balinese will go to nearby beaches or water spring or river to have the special bathing. Worship will also be held in the village temples or other respective temples afterward.
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