Getting to Know About Balinese Calendar

     AT LEAST Balinese people use three calendar systems as reference to perform their daily ac􀆟vi􀆟es. The island with the popula􀆟on of 4.1 million people (2014) has been familiar to see different calendar systems, such as those mounted on the walls of their homes. On that account, Balinese calendar publishers also carry the Muslim, Buddhist, Chinese, Javanese and Japanese calendar, so that every single page of the Balinese calendar is filled in with a note on a variety of religious and na􀆟onal holidays.

Sasih and pawukon

     Balinese calendar alone applies the combina􀆟on of sasih and pawukon systems which results in a Balinese calendar. Both systems are running in parallel. Sasih cycle runs in a 12-month lunar calendar system. Each month begins on the day a􀅌er the new moon (􀆟lem). In the middle of the month (approximately 15 days later) is called the full moon (purnama).

     Meanwhile, the pawukon system is believed to be the original Balinese system, which is rooted in the agricultural cycle, in this case related to the rice plant life having existed since thousands of years ago. There are six months within a pawukon year, and 35 days within one pawukon month. So, one pawukon year consists of 210 days (35 x 6). Every pawukon year is divided into several shorter cycles (a type of week) that run simultaneously. Of the cycle, the most important are the cycles of three day-week, five day-week, and seven day-week.

     The days in each sasih considered important are the new moon and full moon. Related to this sasih, there is a celebra􀆟on of New Year: Nyepi. It is celebrated in a unique manner in Bali. All residents of this island do self-reflec􀆟on and medita􀆟on to turn off everything, including electricity. So, do not be surprised if your hotel manager asks you to close your blinds on the New Year’s Eve of Nyepi.

Saka calendar

     In contrast to the 210-day pawukon calendar, Saka calendar is based on the lunar phases, and it almost equals to the Gregorian calendar. Saka year consists of twelve months (sasih) aged 30 days.

    The names of the twelve months are derived from a mixture of ancient Balinese word (ancient Bali) and Sanskrit for 1 to 12, as follows: Kasa; Karo; Ke􀆟ga; Kapat; Kalima; Kanem; Kapitu; Kaulu; Kasanga; Kadasa; Jyestha; Sada The first day of the year is usually the day a􀅌er the first new moon falling around March-April (Gregorian calendar), so that Nyepi falls on the first day of Kadasa, and the Saka New Year is calculated from that date. Saka calendar started in 78 years a􀅌er the Gregorian calendar, and calculated from the beginning of the Saka Era in India.

     Saka calendar in India is used to make a royal decision at the beginning of the ninth century. The same calendar was also used in Java un􀆟l the administra􀆟on of Sultan Agung and he then replaced it with Javanese calendar in 1633.

Gregorian calendar

      The Gregorian calendar, also called Western calendar and the Chris􀆟an calendar, is the interna􀆟onal calendar of the most widely used by civil society in the world. This calendar is taken from the name of Pope Gregory XIII, first introduced in 1582.

     Gregorian reform contains two parts: the reform of the Julian calendar used before the 􀆟me of the Pope Gregory XIII and the reform of the lunar cycle used by the church with the Julian calendar to calculate the date of Easter becoming the part of the celebrations of christians. *BTNewspaper

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