Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Balinese Calendars

Balinese Calendars
The Balinese use two calendar systems, the Hindu Çaka and their own Pawukon. Like most Balinese culture, the Pawukon is very rich and intricate. It's based on ten concurrent weeks, which have one to ten days (although the one-day week is really a copy of the two-day week with only one day named). To confuse matters, only the three-day, five-day, six-day and seven-day weeks run regularly: the others are derived in various ways. The whole system repeats every 210 days: these 210 days are divided into thirty named cycles of the seven-day week. There are various other cycles and holy days defined on top of this. Most of this you can find specified in volume I of Bali: Sekala & Niskala, by Fred B. Eiseman Jr. I had a copy, but unfortunately I lost it while moving.
I visited Bali in 1988 and 1994: each time I brought back paper calendars. I've scanned as much of the January page of the 1994 calendar as will fit on my scanner: I also have an enlargement of the top-right corner, showing detail.
Each calendar consists of thirteen 12.5"x19" sheets of thin paper, bound at the top by metal, with a small bend-out hanger. The months a printed on the front of the first twelve sheets. All text is in Indonesian, except for certain names used in various calendars.
Each month-page is laid out for the Gregorian system, and each day shows the date in the Islamic, Chinese & Hindu Çaka systems, the moon age, the days of the various Pawukon weeks, and other information which I don't understand. Sundays and holidays are marked in red, or with a red ring, and new and full moons are marked with black and red circular blobs.
Beneath and to the right of the main calendar grid are explanations of festivals and holy days of the Balinese, Hindu, Islamic, Christian and other traditions, as well as founding-anniversary (210 day cycle) festivals of the more important temples in Bali, auspicious days for various activities, and more information which I don't understand. At the top is listed year and month information for vaious calendric systems. In the empty grid space is a picture of the creator, I Ketut Bangbang Gede Rawi, and at the bottom of the page is the name and address of, presumably, his company: 'T.U. Warta Hindu Dharma, Jalan Nangka 23 Denpasar Bali Telp. 22156'.
The back of the twelfth sheet, and both sides of the last sheet, have yet more information, tabulated according to the Roman horoscope, the thirty named seven-day week-cycles, the 35 combinations of the five-day and seven weeks, and apparently as an alphabetical definition of terms.


Post a Comment

<< Home