by Sidarta Wijaya on Saturday, 27 February 2010
Today, Saturday, Balinese celebrates the Saraswati holyday, a sacred day for knowledge. Saraswati is the Goddess of Knowledge, symbolized by a beautiful woman with four hands, riding on a white swan, she symbolize that knowledge is like a beautiful woman, chase by everyone for the rest of his life. Her four hands hold, respectively, a palm leaf manuscript, a lontar, a Balinese traditional manuscript which is the source of science or knowledge; a genitri, a chain consist with 108 pieces, symbolizing that knowledge has no ending there will always be a knowledge, knowledge is never run out; and a guitar or wina, a musical instrument, it symbolizes that science is as beauty as the sound of wina and a lotus is a symbol of holiness. The swans symbolize prudence, with knowledge human can distinguish between good and evil.
The goddess Saraswati is one of the most revered and popular goddess in Bali. Her statue can be found in every junior and senior high school all over Bali, her gigantic statue can be found in every university in Bali.
The celebration Saraswati holyday is begin today, Friday. This is the day of preparation (pangeredanan). All the books and lontar are collected together, cleaned, dusted, and pilled in the family temples or school temples. Every school and school temples in Bali is decorated lavishly, offices are also decorated the shrines that is usually located on the northeast corner of the offices complex.
Saraswati day is celebrated by presenting offering to the books and lontars that is already pilled in the family temples or school temples. The students celebrate the Saraswati holyday at school, and the office-workers in their office.
The celebration of Saraswati holyday must be conducted in the morning until noon. No celebration is held after 12 M. it is believed that the goddess Saraswati returns to heaven after 12 M and will not receive any homage and offering. In the afternoon of Saraswati day, Balinese are not permitted to read or write the book, since it is special day for all the books and lontars when all of them is given offering. In the evening, Balinese will read holy books in their houses or in the temple.