Hari Raya Saraswati

On Saturday Umanis Watugunung, which occurs every 210 days due to the Balinese calendar system, elementary to high school students—who are Hindu, go to school wearing traditional cloth as when they go to the temple. On that day they will pray to Ida Sanghyang Aji Saraswati, manifestation of God as the source of knowledge. Ida Sanghyang Aji Saraswati depicted as a four-armed figure of a beautiful woman with a swan as vehicle. On each hand carrying: a musical instrument rebab (fiddle), prayer beads, lontar and lotus flowers.

Musical instrument produces melodious voice, the symbolic meaning that knowledge contains beauty/aesthetic aspects. Prayer beads (rosario) commonly is used to denote the number of whispering the sacred/holy words, as it tied together in circle shape with no boundaries/end, it is a symbol of knowledge is endless to be learned.

Lontar is a kind of palm leaves that are used to write literary and religious teachings, symbolizing the source of knowledge. Meanwhile lotus flower symbolizes purity. Swan is a symbol of wisdom. Aksara (characters/letters and words that create the knowledge) is the dwelling place of goddess Saraswati. In any depictions of the goddess Saraswati, there are also images of peacock which mean charisma.

Saraswati is Sanskrit, and derive from two words saras and wati. Saras means something that flows, wati means having. So literally, saraswati means something that flows or the meaningful words. The essence of knowledge is like a water flow in the river. It never end. As knowledge is endless even though we learn it everyday. The words are meaningful only if it contains knowledge.

Ceremony is held in the morning. All the books related to the religious literally are set up along with the offering called banten Saraswati. On this day, no writing nor reading such religious books and litterateur related to Weda or Hindu teaching. It is a form of respect and in remembrance that this day is devoted to goddess Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge.

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