Some of my customers asked me; how often do the Balinese people perform ritual ceremony? Easily I answered we do it every day, we have ceremony for full moon, black moon, Nyepi or Day of Silence, Galungan and Kuningan, Saraswati day, Pagerwesi, ceremony for animal called Tumpek Kandang, ceremony for technology products which are made from iron and other metals called Tumpek Landep, ceremony devoted to God as Lord of all food-plants and vegetation called Tumpek Pengatag or Tumpek Bubuh or Tumpek Wariga, ceremony for honoring money called Rambut Sedana, piodalan or annual ceremony for every temple, and there are so many other ceremonies can not mentioned one by one. On this occasion, I just want to write about Pagerwesi ceremony.
Pagerwesi Day, which falls on Wednesday, Buda Kliwon Sinta (Balinese Calendar), is the third most celebrated holidays in Bali after Galungan and Nyepi, silent day. Balinese Hindus celebrate Pagerwesi every six months (210 days) according to the pawukon calendar systems. Pagerwesi derived from words “pager (fence)” and “wesi (iron)”, simply “iron fence”, is a day to strengthen one’s fortification against evil.
Pagerwesi is dedicated to honour Siva, the God manifestation as Hyang Pramesi Guru (the main Guru), and has a very close relationship with Saraswati day. It falls three days after Saraswati day, and there’s continuity meaning between them. In Pagerwesi people honor the main Guru (God or Siva) that transferred knowledge during Saraswati day. It also means that the knowledge must be protected from bad influences and misuse.
If we are looking back to the roots of Hinduism in Bali, which was originated from India, there is a similar ceremony called Guru Puja or Guru Purnima. The Indians, however, celebrate it in a very different way and day. They celebrate Guru Puja on Purnama Kasa or the first new moon every year. Pagerwesi reminds human to be wise and more aware to the function and power of knowledge.
During pagerwesi, Balinese held Tapa Brata (Semadhi) to refresh and calming their mind, at this day also will held a ritual procession with pray at nearest temple. If able Balinese people will held the pray at big temple like Besakih or Jagatnata, but if they was unable because must work or do some other job, the pray can be held on the night on their own home temple. Some people interpret this day by it’s name Pagerwesi (Pager = fence, Wesi = iron), known as the day to protect our self from all negative element, by doing meditation and pray to the god to refresh the mind.