The Island Of Bali, Indonesia



The Calendar. The Solar-Lunar Year. The Hindu saka (Sanskrit: qaka) year by which the mountain people, the Bali Aga, still reckon time and set the dates for their temple festivals is divided into twelve months (sasdh) the names of which are simply the Balinese numbers from one to ten: 1, kasa; 2, karo; 3, katiga; 4, kapat; 5, kalima; 6, kanam; 7, kapitu; 8, kauhi; 9, kasanga; 10, kadasa; with two additional names, desta and sada, to make up the twelve months.

These two last names are corruptions of the Sanskrit names of the eleventh and twelfth months.The ritual Sanskrit names of the months are, as the Balinese pronounce them: s'rawana, badra wada, asudjc, kartika, margasira, posya, maga, palguna, madumasa, wesaka, djiesta, and asada.

These months consist of 29 or 3o days counted from each new moon. The year has either 354, 355, or 356 days, a difference of q to ii days from the true solar year. This is corrected by the addition of an extra month (saseh nampeh) every thirty months, corresponding to about two and a half of our years. There are thirty lunar days in each month, but one day is jumped over every 63 days (nine weeks of seven days) to correlate them with the zq or 30 solar days in each month

Nyepi, the most important yearly feast, the purification of the entire island, marks the spring equinox and is the only national festival of the saka calendar. It falls on the first day, the " dark moon " of the ninth month (tilem-kasanga), despite which it is regarded as the beginning of the year. The nyepi ceremony here described, which took place on the 17th of March 1934, marked the end of the saka year 1855 and usherec. in the new Year 1856.


The Javanese-Balinese Year. The wuku year probably came into use at the time of Madjapahit's domination of South Bali, and today it is the system used universally in Bali, except for the mountaineer Bali Agas, who still reckon their feasts by new and full moons. The wuku is simply divided into weeks (wukus) and does not obey any astronomical or other natural rules.

Of the ten simultaneous weeks contained in a wuku year, the most important is the week of seven days, corresponding to ours, the names of each day being, like our days, dedicated to the planets: Sunday (redite), the Sun; Monday (soma), the Moon; Tuesday (anggara). Mars; Wednesday (budda), Mercury; Thursday (wrespati), Jupiter; Friday (sukra), Venus; Saturday (sanistjara), Saturn.

There are thirty seven-day weeks in a wuku year (sinta, landap, wukir. kurantil, tolti, gumreg, wariga, warigadian, djulung wangi, djulung sungsang, dunggulan, kuninggan, langkir, madang siha, djulung pudjut. pahang, wurkulut, marakeh, tambir, madang kungkang, mahatal, udjeh. menahil, prang bakat, bala muki, ugti, wayang, kulawu, dukut, and watii gunung.

The origin of the names of these weeks is told in the legend of Sinta, a woman who became pregnant after she dreamed she slept with a holy man, giving birth to a beautiful child. One day Sinta lost her temper when the boy became unruly and struck him, wounding him on the head. The boy ran away and his grieved mother searched for him in vain for years afterwards. The grown boy had in time become the powerfra ruler of the country of Giling Wesi, where he was known as Watu Gunung.


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