Pagerwesi is a Balinese ceremony celebrated every 210 days according to the traditional Balinese calendar, just three days after the Saraswati festivities.
The name of this ceremony is obtained from two local words: pager and wesi. Pager is a local word that translates to ‘fence’, while wesi means ‘iron’. The full word’s literal meaning is iron fence and is when the Balinese people strengthen their minds and souls against evil forces.
Pagerwesi 2023 Dates, Festival & Celebration in Bali, Indonesia
The date of the festival coincides with the celebration of Saraswati and the reason for this is that after the celebration of knowledge and divine inspiration during Saraswati, Pagerwasi is held to protect and shield this knowledge and inspiration from evil forces.
One of the most significant activities that the locals will engage in is the fortification of their individual homes and businesses in a bid to keep away dark spirits. Offerings are made by families and villages in order to be protected from evil.
It is also common for locals to make offerings at various cemeteries as a way to celebrate those who have not been cremated. The hallmark of these celebrations is the colourful festivities at numerous temples across Bali. For visitors, look out for the ‘penjors’, tall bamboo poles strapped to raise offerings, making this a striking similarity between Pagerwesi and Galungan, both important ceremonies in Bali.
If you decide to head to the temples, make sure you wear the correct attire including sarong to your ankles and make sure to cover shoulders and midriffs.