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Bali Blog - Article About Bali Holiday Island

Values Behind the Calender to Balinese Life

12 September 2016

Just imagine if all the times are the same or have no different significance, it will be useless to make division into 24 hours a day. If all days are the same, there is no need to make seven days a week and goes on. When there is no time division, the past, present and future never exist and so does the celebration. It is the time measuring the passage of human life across the space.

Balinese (Hindu) community has two years of calendar system, namely Saka Year and Pawukon Year. Saka year is based on solar system or sasih (month) consisting of 355 days starting in 78 AD, while pawukon year based on wuku (210 days) A wuku is valid for seven days and a pawukon year consists of 30 wukus. However, this pawukon year has no number of years. Based on this two calendar systems they determined the festivity and division of good time to do some activities.

In practice, festivals celebrated based on sasih are such as Sivalatri falling on the seventh month (around January) and Nyepi or Day of Silence on the tenth month (March). Other than these festivities, there are some annual exorcism rituals held since the sixth month (December) until its height on the Pengerupukan Day (March).

In the meantime, festivities celebrated based on pawukon system are Galungan & Kuningan, Sarasvati, assorted Tumpek and so forth. Aside from determining auspicious days for ritual, the pawukon system also gives same guidance like when to start cultivating the land, inaugurating business, organizing cremation ceremony and so on. When kajeng of the triwara (3day-week) Pasah, Beteng and Kajeng meets the kliwon of the five-day week such as Umanis, Paing, Pon, Wage and Kliwon, known as kajeng-kliwon, it is a good time to hold a mecaru exorcism ritual meaning to maintain the balance of universe. However, it is also said as good time to practice black magic.

Besides, Balinese almanac also has a division of time into 35 based on the encounter of the five-day and seven-day week known as palelintangan. It illustrates the character of human beings based on their day of birth. For instance, the first one is Redite-Paing known as Lintang Gajah (Elephant). A birth on this Lintang is described to have character of good at keeping a secret and having many friends but loving, to pamper their passion. Another is Wrespati-Kliwon known as Lintang Naga (Dragon). Those belonging to this Lintang have aspirations, friendliness, self-confidence and so forth. Artistically, this palelintangan is presented in a chart filled with symbols as the name of lintang.

Determination of date or day period in Balinese calendar is starting from the sunrise of the day through the next sunrise. It is different from Gregorian calendar starting from 00:01 at midnight until the next 00:00. Misinterpretation often occurs on determining the day of birth at midnight or after. For example, a baby was born at 00:05 on Friday, January 1, 2010. Based on Gregorian calendar, this date details have been correct. However, based on Balinese calendar it indicates a misinterpretation. The day should be Thursday because 00:05 remains to belong to the previous day in Balinese calendar starting from sunrise until the next sunrise. Misinterpretation of the day will have different lintang. As consequence, it belongs to different Lintang has different otonan (day of birth). Similarly, this will also give different readings of characters based on other week-days (Balinese have one to ten-week days). On responding this condition, a Balinese usually consult a priest having good knowledge at Hindu astrology whether it requires a purificatory rite or not based on lontar manuscript known as Wrehaspati Kalpa.

Both systems play important role in the life of Balinese people. Their daily activities are usually started by choosing good days. They believe everything should be started at good time and then followed by good practice in order to reach good result. Agricultural activities through subak organization always refer to the calendar system and so do business and other activities. On that account, Balinese calendar does not only indicate the days throughout the year. However, it becomes important guidance on what to do and not to do in relation to Hindu teachings.

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