PAGERWESI DAY – The Day of Wisdom
Pagerwesi is the day when the Balinese strengthen their minds and souls against evil forces. Pagerwesi is also called “rerainan gumi” by the Balinese and means the holiday for everyone from every background – from the families of priests to the common families.
The Balinese celebrate the Pagerwesi ceremony every six months according to the Balinese pawukon calendar, the celebration is usually three days after Saraswati. Pagerwesi derives from the two Balinese words pager and wesi, which means fence and iron. The iron fence is a symbol of strong self-protection and on pagerwesi the Balinese focus on building a strong personal fortification to ensure that evil doesn’t enter their minds, speech and deeds, to avoid harm to their surroundings.
The God who is worshipped on Pagerwesi is Sanghyang Paramesti Guru or God Siva – who is responsible to wipe out all the bad and evil entities in the world. Also known as the teacher or guru of the universe, Sanghyang Paramesti Guru, also leads and teaches people how to live their life appropriately, without giving in to bad behavior and evil desires.
In many regions in Bali, Pagerwesi is considered to be a really important holiday which is celebrated in a similar fashion to Galungan Day and includes erections of penjors (tall decorated bamboo poles). The Balinese show their gratitude to Sanghyang Paramesti Guru by making offerings, praying in their houses and visiting temples. Pagerwesi is different from many other Balinese ceremonies because it is held in the middle of night.
Prior to Pagerwesi, there are two minor holiday, called Soma Ribek and Sabuh Mas.
2 days before Pagerwesi – Soma Ribek
Soma Ribek is celebrated on the Monday prior to Pagerwesi and is dedicated to the Goddess of rice, Bhatari Sri. By worshipping this Goddess, the Balinese hope that Bhatari Sri will bless them with a full rice barn in the coming year, hence an important ritual of Soma Ribek is placing offerings in a rice pot.
1 day before Pagerwesi – Sabuh Mas
The Tuesday before Pagerwesi is named Sabuh Mas. Sabuh means spread and mas means gold. On this day, the Balinese worship the God as a wealth giver, hoping that He will fill their days with gold in the coming year.