Balinese saka calendar

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The Balinese saka calendar is one of two calendars used on the Indonesian island of Bali. Unlike the 210-day pawukon calendar, it is based on the phases of the Moon, and is approximately the same length as the Gregorian year.

Indonesia Republic in Southeast Asia

Indonesia, officially the Republic of Indonesia, is a country in Southeast Asia, between the Indian and Pacific oceans. It is the world's largest island country, with more than seventeen thousand islands, and at 1,904,569 square kilometres, the 14th largest by land area and the 7th largest in combined sea and land area. With over 261 million people, it is the world's 4th most populous country as well as the most populous Muslim-majority country. Java, the world's most populous island, contains more than half of the country's population.

Bali Province in Indonesia

Bali is a province of Indonesia and the westernmost of the Lesser Sunda Islands. Located east of Java and west of Lombok, the province includes the island of Bali and a few smaller neighbouring islands, notably Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan, and Nusa Ceningan. The provincial capital, Denpasar, is the most populous city in the Lesser Sunda Islands and the second largest, after Makassar, in Eastern Indonesia. Bali is the only Hindu-majority province in Indonesia, with 83.5% of the population adhering to Balinese Hinduism.



Information about the Saka calendar on a Balinese wall calendar SakaDates.jpg
Information about the Saka calendar on a Balinese wall calendar

Based on a lunar calendar, the saka year comprises twelve months, or sasih, of 30 days each. However, because the lunar cycle is slightly shorter than 30 days, and the lunar year has a length of 354 or 355 days, the calendar is adjusted to prevent it losing synchronization with the lunar or solar cycles. The months are adjusted by allocating two lunar days to one solar day every 9 weeks. This day is called ngunalatri, Sanskrit for "minus one night". To stop the Saka from lagging behind the Gregorian calendar – as happens with the Islamic calendar, an extra month, known as an intercalary month, is added after the 11th month (when it is known as Mala Jiyestha), or after the 12th month (Mala Sadha). The length of these months is calculated according to the normal 63-day cycle. An intercalary month is added whenever necessary to prevent the final day of the 7th month, known as Tilem Kapitu, from falling in the Gregorian month of December.[ citation needed ]

Sanskrit ancient Indian language

Sanskrit is a language of ancient India with a history going back about 3,500 years. It is the primary liturgical language of Hinduism and the predominant language of most works of Hindu philosophy as well as some of the principal texts of Buddhism and Jainism. Sanskrit, in its variants and numerous dialects, was the lingua franca of ancient and medieval India. In the early 1st millennium CE, along with Buddhism and Hinduism, Sanskrit migrated to Southeast Asia, parts of East Asia and Central Asia, emerging as a language of high culture and of local ruling elites in these regions.

Islamic calendar lunar calendar

The Islamic, Muslim, or Hijri calendar is a lunar calendar consisting of 12 lunar months in a year of 354 or 355 days. It is used to determine the proper days of Islamic holidays and rituals, such as the annual period of fasting and the proper time for the pilgrimage to Mecca. The civil calendar of almost all countries where the religion is predominantly Muslim is the Gregorian calendar. Notable exceptions to this rule are Iran and Afghanistan, which use the Solar Hijri calendar. Rents, wages and similar regular commitments are generally paid by the civil calendar.

The names the twelve months are taken from a mixture of Old Balinese and Sanskrit words for 1 to 12, and are as follows: [1] [2]

  1. Kasa
  2. Karo
  3. Katiga
  4. Kapat
  5. Kalima
  6. Kanem
  7. Kapitu
  8. Kawalu
  9. Kasanga
  10. Kadasa
  11. Jyestha
  12. Sadha

Each month begins the day after a new moon and has 15 days of waxing moon until the full moon (Purnama), then 15 days of waning, ending on the new moon (Tilem). Both sets of days are numbered 1 to 15. The first day of the year is usually the day after the first new moon in March. [3] Note, however, that Nyepi falls on the first day of Kadasa, and that the years of the Saka era are counted from that date.[ citation needed ]


The calendar is 78 years behind the Gregorian calendar, and is calculated from the beginning of the Saka Era in India. It is used alongside the 210-day Balinese pawukon calendar, and Balinese festivals can be calculated according to either year. The Indian saka calendar was used for royal decrees as early as the ninth century CE. [4] The same calendar was used in Java until Sultan Agung replaced it with the Javanese calendar in 1633. [5]

The Gregorian calendar is the most widely used civil calendar in the world. It is named after Pope Gregory XIII, who introduced it in October 1582. The calendar spaces leap years to make the average year 365.2425 days long, approximating the 365.2422-day tropical year that is determined by the Earth's revolution around the Sun. The rule for leap years is:

Every year that is exactly divisible by four is a leap year, except for years that are exactly divisible by 100, but these centurial years are leap years if they are exactly divisible by 400. For example, the years 1700, 1800, and 1900 are not leap years, but the year 2000 is.

India Country in South Asia

India, also known as the Republic of India, is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh largest country by area and with more than 1.3 billion people, it is the second most populous country as well as the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, and the Bay of Bengal on the southeast, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west; China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the northeast; and Bangladesh and Myanmar to the east. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives, while its Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia.

Java island of Indonesia

Java is an island of Indonesia, bordered by the Indian Ocean on the south and the Java Sea on the north. With a population of over 141 million or 145 million, Java is the home to 56.7 percent of the Indonesian population and is the world's most populous island. The Indonesian capital city, Jakarta, is located on its northwestern coast. Much of Indonesian history took place on Java. It was the center of powerful Hindu-Buddhist empires, the Islamic sultanates, and the core of the colonial Dutch East Indies. Java was also the center of the Indonesian struggle for independence during the 1930s and 1940s. Java dominates Indonesia politically, economically and culturally. Four of Indonesia's eight UNESCO world heritage sites are located in Java: Ujung Kulon National Park, Borobudur Temple, Prambanan Temple, and Sangiran Early Man Site.

Notable days

The Balinese Hindu festival of Nyepi, the day of silence, marks the start of the Saka year. Tilem Kepitu, the last day of the 7th month, is known as Siva Ratri, and is a night dedicated to the god Shiva. Devotees stay up all night and meditate. There are another 24 ceremonial days in the Saka year, usually celebrated at Purnama. [2]

Nyepi Hindu festival of silence in Bali, Indonesia.

Nyepi is a Balinese "Day of Silence" that is commemorated every Isakawarsa according to the Balinese calendar. It is a Hindu celebration mainly celebrated in Bali, Indonesia. Nyepi, a public holiday in Indonesia, is a day of silence, fasting and meditation for the Balinese. The day following Nyepi is also celebrated as New Year's Day. On this day, the youth of Bali in the village of Sesetan in South Bali practice the ceremony of Omed-omedan or 'The Kissing Ritual' to celebrate the new year. The same day celebrated in India as Ugadi.

Shiva Hindu god, supreme being of the universe

Shiva also known as Mahadeva is one of the principal deities of Hinduism. He is the supreme being within Shaivism, one of the major traditions within contemporary Hinduism.

Related Research Articles

Intercalation or embolism in timekeeping is the insertion of a leap day, week, or month into some calendar years to make the calendar follow the seasons or moon phases. Lunisolar calendars may require intercalations of both days and months.

Lunar calendar type of calendar

A lunar calendar is a calendar based upon the monthly cycles of the Moon's phases, in contrast to solar calendars, whose annual cycles are based only directly upon the solar year. The most commonly used calendar, the Gregorian calendar, is a solar calendar system that originally evolved out of a lunar calendar system. A purely lunar calendar is also distinguished from a lunisolar calendar, whose lunar months are brought into alignment with the solar year through some process of intercalation. The details of when months begin varies from calendar to calendar, with some using new, full, or crescent moons and others employing detailed calculations.

A lunisolar calendar is a calendar in many cultures whose date indicates both the Moon phase and the time of the solar year. If the solar year is defined as a tropical year, then a lunisolar calendar will give an indication of the season; if it is taken as a sidereal year, then the calendar will predict the constellation near which the full moon may occur. As with all calendars which divide the year into months there is an additional requirement that the year have a whole number of months. In this case ordinary years consist of twelve months but every second or third year is an embolismic year, which adds a thirteenth intercalary, embolismic, or leap month.

A solar calendar is a calendar whose dates indicate the season or almost equivalently the apparent position of the Sun relative to the stars. The Gregorian calendar, widely accepted as standard in the world, is an example of a solar calendar. The main other type of calendar is a lunar calendar, whose months correspond to cycles of Moon phases. The months of the Gregorian calendar do not correspond to cycles of Moon phase.

The Thai lunar calendar, or Tai calendar, is a lunisolar Buddhist calendar. It is used for calculating lunar-regulated holy days. Based on the SuriyaYatra, with likely influence from the traditional Hindu Surya Siddhanta, it has its own unique structure that does not require the Surya Siddhanta to calculate. Lunisolar calendars combine lunar and solar calendars for a nominal year of 12 months. An extra day or an extra 30-day month is intercalated at irregular intervals.

Hindu calendar is a collective term for the various lunisolar calendars traditionally used in the Indian subcontinent. They adopt a similar underlying concept for timekeeping, but differ in their relative emphasis to moon cycle or the sun cycle and the names of months and when they consider the New Year to start. Of the various regional calendars, the most studied and known Hindu calendars are the Shalivahana Shaka found in South India, Vikram Samvat (Bikrami) found in North and Central regions of India, Tamil calendar used in Tamil Nadu, and the Bengali calendar used in the Bengal – all of which emphasize the lunar cycle. Their new year starts in spring, with their heritage dating back to 1st millennium BCE. In contrast, in regions such as Kerala, the solar cycle is emphasized and this is called the Malayalam calendar, their new year starts in autumn, and these have origins in the second half of the 1st millennium CE. A Hindu calendar is sometimes referred to as Panchanga (पञ्चाङ्ग).

The Bahá'í Calendar, also called the Badíʿ Calendar, is a solar calendar with years composed of 19 months of 19 days each (361 days) plus an extra period of "Intercalary Days". Years begin at Naw-Rúz, on the day of the vernal equinox in Tehran, Iran, coinciding with March 20 or 21.

The epact used to be described by medieval computists as the age of the Moon in days on 22 March; in the newer Gregorian calendar, however, the epact is reckoned as the age of the ecclesiastical moon on 1 January. Its principal use is in determining the date of Easter by computistical methods. It varies from year to year, because of the difference between the solar year of 365–366 days and the lunar year of 354–355 days.

Balinese Hinduism Form of Hinduism practiced in Bali

Balinese Hinduism is the form of monotheistic Hinduism practiced by the majority of the population of Bali. This is particularly associated with the Balinese people residing on the island, and represents a distinct form of Hindu worship incorporating local animism, ancestor worship or Pitru Paksha, and reverence for Buddhist saints or Bodhisattava. Although the population of Indonesia is predominantly Muslim and Christian, 83% of the people on Bali identify as Hindu.

Buddhist calendar lunisolar calendar

The Buddhist calendar is a set of lunisolar calendars primarily used in mainland Southeast Asian countries of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand as well as in Sri Lanka and Chinese populations of Malaysia and Singapore for religious or official occasions. While the calendars share a common lineage, they also have minor but important variations such as intercalation schedules, month names and numbering, use of cycles, etc. In Thailand, the name Buddhist Era is a year numbering system shared by the traditional Thai lunisolar calendar and by the Thai solar calendar.

Indian national calendar

The Indian national calendar, sometimes called the Shalivahana Shaka calendar. It is used, alongside the Gregorian calendar, by The Gazette of India, in news broadcasts by All India Radio and in calendars and communications issued by the Government of India. The Saka calendar is also used in Java and Bali among Indonesian Hindus. Nyepi, the "Day of Silence", is a celebration of the Saka new year in Bali. Nepal's Nepal Sambat evolved from the Saka calendar. Prior to colonization, the Philippines used to apply the Saka calendar as well as suggested by the Laguna Copperplate Inscription.

Vikram Samvat ; Listen ) is the historical Hindu calendar from the Indian subcontinent and the official calendar of modern-day India and Nepal. It uses lunar months and solar sidereal years.

The Pawukon is a 210-day calendar that has its origins in the Hindu religion in Bali, Indonesia. The calendar consists of 10 different concurrent weeks of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 days. On the first day of the year it is the first day of all the ten weeks. Because 210 is not divisible by 4, 8, or 9 - extra days must be added to the 4, 8, and 9 day weeks.

The Javanese calendar is the calendar of the Javanese people. It is used concurrently with two other calendars, the Gregorian calendar and the Islamic calendar. The Gregorian calendar is the official calendar of the Republic of Indonesia and civil society, while the Islamic calendar is used by Muslims and the Indonesian government for religious worship and deciding relevant Islamic holidays.

The Burmese calendar is a lunisolar calendar in which the months are based on lunar months and years are based on sidereal years. The calendar is largely based on an older version of the Hindu calendar, though unlike the Indian systems, it employs a version of the Metonic cycle. The calendar therefore has to reconcile the sidereal years of the Hindu calendar with the Metonic cycle's near tropical years by adding intercalary months and days at irregular intervals.

Sri Kesari Warmadewa

Sri Kesari Warmadewa was the first king of Bali to leave a written inscription. He authored the inscription on the 914 CE Belanjong pillar in southern Sanur. The inscription It is written in both the Indian Sanskrit language and Old Balinese language, using two script, the Nagari script and the Old Balinese script. The pillar testifies to the connections of Bali with the Sanjaya Dynasty in Central Java. It is dated according to the Indian Saka calendar.

Belanjong pillar

The Belanjong pillar, also Blanjong pillar or Blanjong inscription, is a pillar established in 914 CE in the harbour of Belanjong, in the southern area of Sanur in Bali.

The Balinese observe two completely different and not synchronized calendars:


An Odalan is a Balinese village temple festival in Indonesia. It is an occasion when the Hindu village community comes together, invite the gods to visit them for three or more days, perform religious services together offering refreshments and entertainment. It is a periodic event, one that celebrates Balinese Hindu heritage and performance arts. The Odalan celebrations are a social occasion among Indonesian Hindus, and have historically contributed to the rich tradition of theatre and Balinese dance forms.


  1. Hobart et al, p82
  2. 1 2 Esimeman (1989) pp186-190
  3. Esimeman (1989) pp 159,186
  4. Haer et al, pp 24, 228
  5. Ricklefs (1981), p.43