On May 24, 2023, Balinese people celebrate Pagerwesi Day (Hari Raya Pagerwesi). It is observed every 210 days of the Balinese Pawukon calendar. Accordingly, it falls on different dates in our Gregorian calendar, but it always occurs on a Wednesday.
This day is dedicated to the worship of the supreme deity Ida Sanghyang Widhi Wasa (Sanghyang Widhi Wasa) in the manifestation of Sanghyang Pramesti Guru, the true teacher of the universe and humanity. Balinese believe that Ida Sanghyang Widhi Wasa can fill us with genuine knowledge and purity.
The name Pagerwesi is derived from the word "pager," which means "defender" or "enclosure," and "wesi," which translates to "iron." Interestingly, in modern Indonesian, "pager" now translates to "fence" and "besi" to "iron."
It is believed that the iron enclosure symbolizes the steadfastness of faith and human knowledge, as we protect the most valuable and important things with an iron fence. Pagerwesi Day reminds Balinese people of the importance of strengthening their minds and souls to resist evil forces.
On Pagerwesi, Balinese people conduct prayers in the houses and temples of villages.
Pagerwesi is celebrated on the fourth day after the day of the goddess Saraswati, who is the patron of knowledge. Each day starting from Saraswati is dedicated to a specific area of knowledge that Balinese people should devote their thoughts and efforts to. So, for several days from Saturday, Saraswati Day, to Wednesday, Pagerwesi Day, the islanders spend in a festive mood, prayers, and wise teachings.
By the way, often on Pagerwesi Day, immigration offices in Bali either work only in the first half of the day or are closed for the day. Keep this in mind if you plan to extend your visa.
If you want to congratulate Balinese acquaintances on the holiday, you can greet them when you meet by saying, "Selamat Hari Raya Pagerwesi!"