Canang sari is one of the daily offerings made by Balinese Hindus to thank the Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa in praise and prayer.Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa, also Acintya and Atintya (“the unthinkable”, “the inconceivable”, “he who cannot be imagined”), also Tunggal (“Unity”) is the Supreme God of Indonesian Hinduism (formally known as Agama Hindu Dharma), especially on the island of Bali. He is equivalent to the concept of Brahman, and is the Supreme God in traditional wayang (shadow puppet) theatre. Canang sari will be seen in the Balinese temples (pura), on small shrines in houses, and on the ground or as a part of a larger offering.
Canang sari normally filled with colorful flowers. The colors of the flowers are white, red, yellow, blue or green. Those colors are not randomly chosen; they have different meaning and are placed in specific directions.
- White-coloured flowers that point to the east as a symbol of Iswara. Iswara is regarded as one of the primary forms of God. He is also known as Shiva or Mahadeva.
- Red-coloured flowers that point to the south as a symbol of Brahma. Brahma is often referred to as the progenitor or great grandsire of all human beings. Brahmā is traditionally depicted with four heads, four faces, and four arms. Unlike most other Hindu gods, Brahmā holds no weapons. He holds a sceptre, a book, a string of prayer beads and the Vedas.
- Yellow-coloured flowers that point to the west as a symbol of Mahadeva. Mahadeva means “Great god”. The main iconographical attributes of Mahadeva or Shiva are the third eye on his forehead, the snake Vasuki around his neck, the crescent moon adorning, the holy river Ganga flowing from his matted hair, the Trishula as his weapon and the Damaru as his instrument.
- Blue or green-coloured flowers that point to the north as a symbol of Vishnu. Visnu is conceived as “the Preserver” within the Trimurti, the Hindu Trinity of the divinity. He is depicted as a blue being, holding a Padma (lotus flower) in the lower left hand, the Kaumodaki gada (mace) in the lower right hand, the Panchajanya shankha (conch) in the upper left hand and the discus weapon Sudarshana Chakra in the upper right hand.