Hari Raya Saraswati

is the day devoted to Saraswati the Goddess of Knowledge and Creativity. You can easily recognize her in statues and paintings as a 4 armed beautiful woman dressed in pale colored clothes holding a lontar (a palm leaf manuscript), a musical string instrument (usually a type of lute) and a mala (string of prayer beads). She will be sitting or standing on a lotus flower or sometimes sitting on a swan surrounding by lotus flowers. The swan symbolizes knowing the difference between good and evil while the water lily or lotus flower indicates holiness.

Saraswati is celebrated every 210 day on the Balinese Pawukon calendar with prayers and ceremonies at the family and village temples as well as at the office and at school. It is a day when children and teachers will wear brightly colored traditional clothes instead of the compulsary school uniforms. Saraswati day is not a public holiday, schools and offices will be open as normal but most of the mornings will be used for ceremonies and prayers.

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