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 (read: caste) from the families of priests to the common families. Pagerwesi is celebrated every 210 days on Wednesday of Shinta (the first week in the Balinese Pawukon calendar system).
Etymologically 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 focuses on building a strong personal fortification to ensure that evil don’t enter their minds, speech and deeds, so won’t do harm their surroundings.
The God who is worshipped on Pagerwesi is Sanghyang Paramesti Guru or God Siva – the god who is responsible to wipe out all the bad and evil entities in the world. Also known as teacher or guru of the universe, Sanghyang Paramesti Guru, also leads and teaches human on 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 excessively in a similar fashion to Galungan Day, includinf 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.
Prior to Pagerwesi, there are two minor holiday, called Soma Ribek and Sabuh Mas.
Soma Ribek is celebrated on the Monday prior to Pagerwesi and is dedicated to the Goddess of rice, Bhatari Sri. By worshipping the 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.
Tuesday before Pagerwesi is named Sabuh Mas. Etymologically Sabuh means spread and mas means gold. On this holiday, Balinese worship the god as a wealth giver, hoping that the god will fill their days with gold the coming year.