Saraswati – Day of Knowledge
Saraswati day is a traditional Balinese holiday to celebrate the day when knowledge is given by God through the beautiful goddess Saraswati.
Like many Balinese holidays, Saraswati day is held every six months (210 days), on Saturday of Watugunung (the last week in the Balinese calendar system) and is celebrated all over Bali.
The day is celebrated by making offerings and praying at home, in temples, schools and offices. The Balinese also put offerings on their books and scriptures due to books and scriptures being classic sources of knowledge. Some people celebrate it by praying and singing holy songs and spells from Hindus Scriptures all night in the temple or in their house.
In many of Bali’s schools students practice offering rituals, like singing holy songs and mantra from Hindus Scriptures all night in the temple or in their house, dancing traditional dance, decorating their school temple and other religious activities a day before Saraswati day, as preparation to Sarawati day.
The word Saraswati is derived from the Sanskrit words sara and swaandthi; meaning the one who gave essence or meaning and the one who knows. Saraswati also means the one that flows as a river of knowledge which will give wealth and enlightenment to those who are willing to learn or study.
The Goddess Saraswati is the symbol of the knowledge that controls thoughts and words. She is illustrated as a very beautiful woman with four arms holding (and playing) a zither, scriptures and rosary beads; all representing the characteristics of knowledge.
The beautiful face represents how interesting knowledge can be; the zither represents art; the scriptures represent how knowledge can lead human into enlightenment, and the rosary beads means spirituality and dedication.
Goddess Saraswati is also figured sitting or standing on a lotus with two holy animals as her conveyance; a goose and a peacock. The lotus symbolizes the ability of knowledge to remain in any situation, the goose represents the ability of knowledge to filter good and bad habits or deeds, and the peacock represents beauty and along with the goose becomes a vehicle to deliver the knowledge given by God.