the old culture from balinese and all i know will show in this blog

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

The Saraswati Day At Balinese

This Saturday (june 2008) is an important moment in appreciation of knowledge in Bali. You can witness a religious ceremony called "Piodalan Saraswati" or the Saraswati Day, the day to worship God in His manifestation as the master of all knowledge. Every six months according to the Balinese calendar called pawukon (from Balinese word "wuku" which means week) on Saniscara Umanis Watugunung, Balinese Hindus give their greatest honour to the knowledge.

Most of the students in Bali will be busy performing the ceremony at schools, colleges and their houses. At home, they arrange books, magazines, dictionaries and everything related to the physical representation of knowledge, put them on the altar-like table. Special offerings called canang Saraswati and some other offerings are presented. They would not touch and read their books from morning until evening. Any activities that harm, burn and scratch books are considered as a betrayal of knowledge.

There are two important days that considered as the preparation day, called Petegtegan and Pangredanan, which fall on Wednesday (October, 30) and Friday (October, 31). Both Petegtegan and Pangredanan remind us to be aware constantly, to do self-introspection, to face all the worldly temptation by holding the purity of knowledge.

"Saraswati", the goddess of knowledge, by Ginarsa.
Goddes Saraswati, an icon of knowledge

In every ceremony, Balinese Hindus always come up with their imaginary symbols. They symbolise Saraswati or Ida Sang Hyang Aji Saraswati, the goddes of knowledge as a beautiful woman with some attributes. She has four hands, riding on a white swan among water lilies to tell humanity that knowledge is like a beautiful woman, very enchanting. Her hands hold a palm leaf; a lontar (a traditional book that usually written in Balinese letters); a genitri (a chain with 108 pieces of small ball) symbolises that knowledge is never ending and has an everlasting life cycle; and a guitar or wina (musical instrument) symbolises that science develops through the growth of culture. The swans symbolise prudence, so that one's knowledge may distinguish between good and evil. The water lilies or lotuses are the symbols for holiness.

Some people prefer not to sleep all night, they perform some activities that have relationship with Saraswati day, like mekidung or mekekawin (singing a holy song) and meditation.

Banyu Pinaruh
On Banyu Pinaruh, which falls on Sunday(November, 2), is a moment to reinvent yourself. People go to beach, lake or river and have a swim or wash to purify their mind, body and soul.

Some people take a bath with toya kumkuman (water mixed with flowers) and they will drink loloh (traditional medicine made from various leaves which is very good for our health) then pray together with their family begging for pure knowledge and wisdom.

The series of ceremonies to celebrate Saraswati Day indicate the importance of knowledge has to human life. The more knowledge people have, the wiser they should be in speech, thought and deed.