Saraswati Day

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) symbolizing 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 symbolist 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.