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The Balinese Calendar

Intricate paintings of the Balinese calendar contain a number of squares, each corresponding to a certain day and week in the year. Within each square is painted a scene depicting a profiable action or event that relates to that particular day. One day may be devoted to religious duties, another to human endeavors, another to responsibelities cocerning cows, fish, fowl or coconut. The calendar not only regulates the lives of the Balinese, but indicates the most favorable dates to undertake such ordinary tasks of daily life such as blessing a house, building a bed, or selling cattle.

The Balinese follow two time systems simultaneously: the Hindu saka calendar in which the years are numbered, and the Balinese Wuku calendar which does not register the years.The saka solar-lunar year is divided into 12 months or "moons", with fullmoon and darkmoon important to ceremonies. Every month contains 29 or 30 solar days, similar to the west, except the years are numbered 78 years earlier; so AD 1976 was saka year 1898. The majority of Balinese use of wuku calendar, a complex time system consisting of 10 simulteneous weeks, ranging from a one-day week to a 10-day week, which is called wuku and begin on Sunday, with each day name after a planet in the solar system. The five-day week is as important. A wuku year is made up of 210 days, or 37-day weeks, wuku with each wuku having its own name.

According to the wuku system certain day in each year favours a particular aspect of life and it is on this day that the relevant deity is revered. Prayers of thanksgiving are given in the morning at the shrine dedicated to the particular deity concered followed by purification rituals. As a mark of respect appreciation is shown by abstinence during the day, which may be lifted only in the evening. For example, on the day devoted to Saraswati, goddess of wishdom, prayers and offerings are dedicated to all books, manuscripts and lontar - the holy scriptures written on palm leaves - followed by the sprinkling of holy water and no reading or writing is permitted until the evening, when schoolars and men of letters study the scriptures.

Similary, the festival of Tumpek Wayang commemorates the arts, including music, dance and theater. On this day all puppets, dance costumes and implements used for painting or carving are brought out to be cleaned and repaired. In the evening performances of dance drama, puppet shows and music are given in profosion all over the island.

The full and dark (new) moon are of particular importance and twice a month at this time offerings are taken to the temple, usually in the early evening, when purification rituals are carried out. Should a religious ceremony or festival coincide with the full or the dark moon, it is cosidered to heighten the spiritual significance and extra preparations will consequently ensue.

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web mister Ohari  2003.

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Excuse me !

As the owner of several apartments, I thought I had heard all the excuses for late rent. Then this note arrived with a rent check :

"Sorry. I didn't realize the first of the month was so close to the end of the month."

By Joyce Owen. Reader's Digest., June, 1993.