Experienced Pagerwesi Day in Bali

Published: 15th April 2010
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Pagerwesi, literally means 'iron fence' is the day when Balinese strengthening the space around themselves to ward off evil spirits. Pagerwesi is also a day which an ancient battle between good and evil is celebrated. Beside protecting themselves, people also ask to God to give them protection for their village, families, and the world around them. Philosophy of Pagerwesi is to remain the Balinese people to keep holding tight brotherhood, culture, and land so they can not easy to be attacked by enemy.

As the opening of Pagerwesi ritual, people held the celebration of Soma Ribek and Sabuh Emas. During the time, a series of ritual ceremonies are held, colorful offering are made and dedicated to the Lord of Jewelries, especially gold jewelries and Chinese coins. After that, comes Pagerwesi day.

On this day, Balinese make and present special offerings to the Sanghyang Pramesti Guru (God as Supreme Teacher) as a sign of gratitude to the God as Supreme teacher and the gods of nine direction for their meditation. Another offering is also presented to the holy spirit of each family's ancestors, a ceremony and prayers are held at respective family temple as well as at village temples throughout the island. All members of the family also make a visit to their deceased family member that have not been cremated in the cemetery.

There is a great difference on manner and scale of festivity in celebrating Pagerwesi between south Bali and North Bali. In South Bali, Pagerwesi is celebrated modestly and with little pomposity and festivity, no penjor (a lavishly decorated tall bamboo pole) is erected. However, in north Bali, people celebrate it feverishly. Pigs and chicken are killed and cooked into various traditional Balinese dishes, make a visit to the relative and give a sumptuous feast to the visiting relatives are a must. Penjor is erected in every house compound's gate. North Bali Singaraja is full with celebration and festivity.

Based on the Pakuwon (Balinese calendar), the Pagerwesi is celebrated twice a year like other Balinese Hindu celebrations such as temple anniversaries, Galungan & Kuningan Day, Saraswati and Otonan.

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