Like many Balinese religious days, Saraswati or “Knowledge Day” is celebrated every 210 days on the Balinese Pawukon Calendar. Saraswati is the Hindu goddess of knowledge, music, arts, wisdom and nature. An attractive woman symbolizes her with a white swan among water lilies. The swan symbolizes prudence, so that one’s knowledge is able to distinguish between good and evil. The water lilies & lotus flowers are symbols of holiness.

Saraswati has four hands each of which hold different items, first a “lontar” , this is a traditional Balinese book that is the source of science or knowledge. Next hand has a chain with 108 links, which symbolizes that knowledge never ends and has an everlasting life cycle. The last hand holds a “Wina” a musical instrument like a guitar, which symbolizes that science develops through the growth of culture.

On Saraswati day the Balinese will bring offerings to the holy books and scrolls in their houses. Students will celebrate Saraswati at schools usually in the morning. Balinese people who work at an office job will make offerings their. The Balinese are not allowed to read or write in the afternoon of Saraswati because books have just been blessed. In the evening, people can read books (preferably religious books) at home or in the temple.