Javanese calendar

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The Javanese calendar (Javanese : ꦥꦤꦁꦒꦭ꧀ꦭꦚ꧀ꦗꦮ, romanized: Pananggalan Jawa) 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.

Javanese language Austronesian language

Javanese is the language of the Javanese people from the central and eastern parts of the island of Java, in Indonesia. There are also pockets of Javanese speakers on the northern coast of western Java. It is the native language of more than 98 million people.

A calendar is a system of organizing days for social, religious, commercial or administrative purposes. This is done by giving names to periods of time, typically days, weeks, months and years. A date is the designation of a single, specific day within such a system. A calendar is also a physical record of such a system. A calendar can also mean a list of planned events, such as a court calendar or a partly or fully chronological list of documents, such as a calendar of wills.

Javanese people Javanese people are an ethnic group native to the Indonesian island of Java.

The Javanese people are an ethnic group native to the Indonesian island of Java. With approximately 100 million people, they form the largest ethnic group in Indonesia. They are predominantly located in the central to eastern parts of the island. There are also significant numbers of people of Javanese descent in most provinces of Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Suriname, Saudi Arabia and the Netherlands.


The Javanese calendar is used by the main ethnicities of Java island—that is, the Javanese, Madurese, and Sundanese people—primarily as a cultural icon and identifier, and as a maintained tradition of antiquity. The Javanese calendar is used for cultural, metaphysical, and spiritual purposes. [1]

Madurese people people

The Madurese are an ethnic group originally from the island of Madura now found in many parts of Indonesia, where they are the third-largest ethnic group by population. Common to most Madurese throughout the archipelago is the Islamic religion and the use of the Madurese language.

Sundanese people ethnic group

The Sundanese are an Austronesian ethnic group native to the western part of the Indonesian island of Java. They number approximately 40 million, and form Indonesia's second most populous ethnic group, after the neighboring Javanese. In their language, Sundanese, the Sundanese refer to themselves as Urang Sunda, while Orang Sunda or Suku Sunda is its Indonesian equivalent.

Cultural icon Artifact that is recognised by members of a culture or sub-culture as representing some aspect of cultural identity

A cultural icon is an artifact that is identified by members of a culture as representative of that culture. The process of identification is subjective, and "icons" are judged by the extent to which they can be seen as an authentic proxy of that culture. When individuals perceive a cultural icon, they relate it to their general perceptions of the cultural identity represented. Cultural icons can also be identified as an authentic representation of the practices of one culture by another.

The current system of the Javanese calendar was inaugurated by Sultan Agung of Mataram in the Gregorian year 1633 CE. [2] Prior to this, the Javanese had used the Hindu calendar (Saka), which begins in 78 CE and uses the solar cycle for calculating time. [3] Sultan Agung's calendar retained the Saka calendar year system of counting, but differs by using the same lunar year measurement system as the Islamic calendar, rather than the solar year. Occasionally, the Javanese calendar is referred to by its Latin name Anno Javanico or AJ (Javanese Year). [4]

Sultan Agung of Mataram Sultan of Mataram, 1613-1646

Sultan Agung Adi Prabu Hanyakrakusuma was the third Sultan of Mataram in Central Java ruling from 1613 to 1645. A skilled soldier he conquered neighbouring states and expanded and consolidated his kingdom to its greatest territorial and military power.

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. 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).

Islamic calendar lunar calendar used by Muslims to determine religious observances

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.

Calendar cycles

The Javanese calendar contains multiple, overlapping (but separate) measurements of times, called "cycles". These include:

Week unit of time

A week is a time unit equal to seven days. It is the standard time period used for cycles of rest days in most parts of the world, mostly alongside—although not strictly part of—the Gregorian calendar.

Year AD/CEYear AJMuslim
Year AD/CEYear AHMuslim

Current correlations

The Javanese calendar year of 1941 occurred entirely within the civil calendar year of 2008. Such years occur once every 33 or 34 Javanese years (32 or 33 civil years). More are listed here:

 Javanese year within civil year 

Division of time

Days in the Javanese calendar, like the Islamic calendar, begin at sunset. [2] Traditionally, Javanese people do not divide the day and night into hours, but rather into phases. [4] The division of a day and night are:

Sunset daily disappearance of the Sun below the western half of the horizon

Sunset, also known as sundown, is the daily disappearance of the Sun below the horizon due to Earth's rotation. As viewed from the Equator, the equinox Sun sets exactly due west in both spring and fall. As viewed from the middle latitudes, the local summer Sun sets to the northwest for the Northern Hemisphere, but to the southwest for the Southern Hemisphere.

Hour unit of time

An hour is a unit of time conventionally reckoned as ​124 of a day and scientifically reckoned as 3,599–3,601 seconds, depending on conditions.

Division of time
StartEndJavanese nameMeaning
6 am8 amésuk
8 am12 pmtengangi
12 pm1 pmbedug
time for bedug prayer
1 pm3 pmlingsir kulon
(sun) moving west
3 pm6 pmasar
time for asar prayer
6 pm8 pmsoré
8 pm11 pmsirap
sleepy time
11 pm1 amtengah wengi
1 am3 amlingsir wengi
late night
3 am6 ambangun

Cycles of days

Five-day week (Pasaran)

The native Javanese system groups days into a five-day week called Pasaran, unlike most calendars that uses a seven-day week. The name, pasaran, is derived from the root word pasar ("market"). Historically, but also still today, Javanese villagers gather communally at local markets to socially meet, engage in commerce, and buy and sell farm produce, cooked foods, home industry crafted items and so on. John Crawfurd (1820) suggested that the length of the weekly cycle is related to the number of fingers on the hand, [5] and that itinerant merchants would rotate their visits to different villages according to a five-day "roster".

John Crawfurd British historian

Dr John Crawfurd was a Scottish physician, colonial administrator and diplomat, and author. He is now best known for his work on Asian languages, his History of the Indian Archipelago, and his role in founding Singapore as the last British Resident of Singapore; the position of Resident was replaced by the Governor of the Straits Settlements.

The days of the cycle each have two names, as the Javanese language has distinct vocabulary associated with two different registers of politeness: ngoko (informal) and krama (formal). The krama names for the days, second in the list, are much less common.

Signs of the Pasaran cycle Javanese week.jpg
Signs of the Pasaran cycle

The origin of the names is unclear, and their etymology remains obscure. Possibly, the names may be derived from indigenous gods, like the European and Asian names for days of the week. [5] An ancient Javanese manuscript illustrates the week with five human figures (shown at right below the day names): a man seizing a suppliant by the hair, a woman holding a horn to receive an offering, a man pointing a drawn sword at another, a woman holding agricultural produce, and a man holding a spear leading a bull. [5]

Additionally, Javanese consider these days' names to have a mystical relation to colors and cardinal direction:

Most Markets no longer operate under this traditional Pasaran cycle, instead pragmatically remaining open every day of the Gregorian week. However many markets in Java still retain traditional names that indicated that once the markets only operated on certain Pasaran days, such as Pasar Legi, or Pasar Kliwon. [2] Some markets in small or medium size locations will be much busier on the Pasaran day than on the other days. On the market's name day itinerate sellers appear selling such things as livestock, plants and other products that are either less frequently purchased or are more expensive. This allows a smaller number of these merchants to service a much larger area much as in bygone days.

Javanese astrological belief dictates that an individual’s characteristics and destiny are attributable to the combination of the Pasaran day and the "common" weekday of the Islamic calendar on that person's birthday. Javanese people find great interest in the astrological interpretations of this combination, called the Wetonan cycle.

Seven-day week

The seven-day-long week cycle (dina pitu, "seven days") is derived from the Islamic calendar, adopted following the spread of Islam throughout the Indonesian archipelago. The names of the days of the week in Javanese are derived from their Arabic counterparts, namely:

Days of Seven-day Week
Senin (ꦱꦼꦤꦶꦤ꧀)yaum al-ithnayn ( يوم الاثنين )Monday
Selasa (ꦱꦼꦭꦱ)yaum ath-thalatha' ( يوم الثلاثاء )Tuesday
Rebo (ꦉꦧꦺꦴ)yaum al-arba`a' ( يوم الأربعاء )Wednesday
Kemis (ꦏꦼꦩꦶꦱ꧀)yaum al-khamis ( يوم الخميس )Thursday
Jemuwah (ꦗꦼꦩꦸꦮꦃ)yaum al-jum`a ( يوم الجمعة )Friday
Setu (ꦱꦼꦠꦸ)yaum as-sabt ( يوم السبت )Saturday
Minggu/Ahad (ꦩꦶꦁꦒꦸ/ꦲꦲꦢ꧀)yaum al-ahad ( يوم الأحد )Sunday

These two-week systems occur concurrently; thus, a certain Friday may fall on a Kliwon day, and is consequently called Jumat Kliwon. [2] This combination forms the Wetonan cycle.

Wetonan cycle

The Wetonan cycle superimposes the five-day Pasaran cycle with the seven-day week cycle. Each Wetonan cycle lasts for 35 (7x5) days. An example of Wetonan cycle:

The "Wetonan" Cycle for 2nd week of May (Mei) 2008:
EnglishMonday 5Tuesday 6Wednesday 7Thursday 8Friday 9Saturday 10Sunday 11
Javanese seven-day weekSenin 5Selasa 6Rebo 7Kemis 8Jumat 9Setu 10Minggu/ Ahad 11
Javanese Pasaran week 28 Pon29 Wage1 Kliwon2 Legi3 Pahing4 Pon5 Wage

From the example above, the Weton for Tuesday May 6, 2008 would be read as Selasa Wage.

The Wetonan cycle is especially important for divinatory systems, important celebrations, and rites of passage. Commemorations and events are held on days considered to be auspicious.

An especially prominent example, still widely taught in primary schools, is that the Weton for the Proclamation of Indonesian Independence on 17 August 1945 took place on Jumat Legi; this is also the Weton for the birth and death of Sultan Agung, one of the greatest kings of Java and the inventor of the modern Javanese calendar. [6] Therefore, Jumat Legi is considered an important night for pilgrimage. [7] There are also taboos that relate to the cycle; for example, the ritual dance bedhaya can only be performed on Kemis Kliwon. [8]

The coincidence of the Pasaran day with the common day on the day of birth is considered by Javanese to indicate the personal characteristics of that person, similar to the Western Zodiac and planetary positioning in Western astrology. [1]

Pawukon cycle

Pawukon is a 210-day cycle in Javanese calendar, [2] related to Hindu tradition. Though most associated with Bali, it is still used in Java for special purposes. The calendar consists of concurrent weeks, and has a set of ten weeks, which have a duration of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 days.

The first day of the year is considered the first day of all ten weeks. As 210 is not divisible by 4, 8, or 9, extra days must be added to the 4-, 8-, and 9-day weeks.

Dates numbering

For timekeeping, days are numbered within the lunar month (wulan) as is common in other calendar systems. The date indicates the change in the moon, and symbolizes the life of a human in the world. This process of revolving life is known as cakra manggilingan or heru cakra.

On the first day of the month, when the moon is small, it is compared to a newborn baby. The 14th day, called Purnama Sidhi (full moon), represents a married adult. The next day, called Purnama, occurs as the moon begins to wane. The 20th day, Panglong, symbolizes the point at which people begin to lose their memory. The 25th day, Sumurup, represents the point at which the adult requires care like when they were young. The 26th day, Manjing, represents the return of the human to his or her origin. [6]

Cycles of months


Signs of Solar months (mangsa) in Javanese Calendar (upper row) with sign of Hindu zodiacs (lower row). Signs of Months in Javanese Calendar.gif
Signs of Solar months (mangsa) in Javanese Calendar (upper row) with sign of Hindu zodiacs (lower row).

The solar year is divided into twelve periods (mangsa) of unequal length. Its origin lies in agriculture practice in Java. The names of the first ten months are simply the ordinal numbers from 1 to 10 in Javanese language, although the names of the 11th and 12th months are unclear. [5] The cycle begins near the June solstice, around the middle of the dry season in Java.

In the 19th century, the solar month system or pranata mangsa was much better known among Javanese than the civil or religious year. [5] The cycle is clearly of Javanese origin, since the specific application to their climate does not match other territories in the Indonesian archipelago, as well as the usage of Javanese names for the months. [5] Although the cycle matches the weather pattern well, it is still clearly somewhat arbitrary, as can be seen in the lengths of the months. [5]

In astrology, the pranata mangsa is used to predict personality traits in a similar manner to sun signs in Western astrology. It is not widely used anymore for divination, but some practitioners use it as well as the other cycles in their divination. [1]

The Solar months are :

Pranata mangsa [5] [9]
Starting dayNameLength in daysDescription
Jun 23Mangsa Kaso
41The dry season; leaves are falling from the trees; the ground is withered and arid, bereft of water "like a jewel that has come free of its setting."
Aug 3Mangsa Karo
23The dry season; parched earth lies in hard clumps; the mango and cotton trees begin to bloom.
Aug 26Mangsa Katelu
24The dry season; spice roots are harvested; the gadung tree begins to bear fruit.
Sep 19Mangsa Kapat
25Rain begins to fall, as "tears well up in the soul", marking the end of the dry season; birds are singing and busily constructing nests. The Labuh Season is at hand.
Oct 14Mangsa Kalima
27The rainy season, sometimes with fierce winds and flooding; mangoes are ripe; snakes are driven from their nests; "a fountain of gold falls across the earth".
Nov 11Mangsa Kanem
43The rainy season; lightning strikes and there are landslides; but it is also the season of many fruit.
Dec 23Mangsa Kapitu
43The rainy season is at its peak; birds are hard pressed to find food, and in many areas there is severe flooding.
Feb 4/5Mangsa Kawolu
27The rainy season; rice fields are growing and the cat is looking for his mate; grubs and larvae abound.
Mar 2Mangsa Kasanga
25The rainy season; rice fields are turning yellow; "happy news is spreading"; water is stored within the earth, the wind blows in one direction, and many fruits are ripe.
Mar 27Mangsa Kasadasa
24Rain yet falls, but is diminishing; the wind rustles and blows hard; the air is still chilly. The Mareng Season is at hand.
Apr 20Mangsa Dèsta
23The dry season has begun; farmers are harvesting the rice fields; birds tend their young with affection, as if they were "jewels of the heart".
May 13Mangsa Saddha
41The dry season; water begins to recede, "vanishing from its many places".


Each lunar year (taun) is divided into a series of twelve wulan/sasi or lunar months. Each consists of 29 or 30 days. This is adapted from the use of months in the Islamic calendar. The names of the month are given below in Javanese and Arabic which can be used interchangeably:

Javanese lunar months
Ngoko (informal)Arabic namesLength of days
Muharram ( المحرّم )30
Safar ( صفر )29
Rabi al-awwal ( ربيع الأوّل )30
Bakda Mulud/Rabingulakir
Rabi al-thani ( ربيع الثاني )29
Jumada al-awwal ( جمادى الأولى )30
Jumada al-thani ( جمادى الآخرة )29
Rajab ( رجب )30
Sha'aban ( شعبان )29
Ramadhan ( رمضان )30
Shawwal ( شوّال )29
Dhu al-Qi'dah ( ذو القعدة )30
Dhu al-Hijjah ( ذو الحجّة )29 or 30

Length of the last month may be 29 or 30 days, depending on whether the year is normal or a leap year (taun kabisat).

The cycle of months is sometimes considered metaphorically to represent the cycle of human life. The first nine months represent gestation before birth, while the tenth month represents the human in the world, the eleventh the end of his or her existence, and the twelfth the return to where he or she came from. The cycle thus goes from one spark or conception (rijal) to another, traversing through the void (suwung). [6]

Year designation

The Shalivahana era, which started in 78 CE and continues to be used on Bali, was used in Hindu times on Java, and for well over a century after the appearance of Islam on Java.

When Sultan Agung adopted the Islamic lunar calendar in 1633 CE, he did not adopt the Anno Hegirae to designate those years, but instead continued the count of the Shalivahana era, which was 1555 at the time. [5] As a result, the Anno Javanico does not in effect count from any time.

Cycles of years

Eight tahun makes up a windu. A single windu lasts for 81 repetitions of the wetonan cycle, or 2,835 days (about 7 years 9 months in the Gregorian calendar). Note that the tahun are lunar years, and of shorter length than Gregorian years. The names of the years in the cycle of windu are as follows (in krama/ngoko):

  1. Purwana/Alip (354 days)
  2. Karyana/Ehé (354 days)
  3. Anama/Jemawal (355 days)
  4. Lalana/Jé (354 days)
  5. Ngawanga/Dal (355 days)
  6. Pawaka/Bé (354 days)
  7. Wasana/Wawu (354 days)
  8. Swasana/Jimakir (355 days)

The windu are then grouped into a cycle of four:

  1. Windu Adi
  2. Windu Kunthara
  3. Windu Sengara
  4. Windu Sancaya

The cycles of wulan, tahun, and windu are derived from the Saka calendar.

Windu' are no longer used much in horoscopy, but there is evidence that it was previously used by court officials to predict trends. The passing of a windu is often seen as a milestone and deserving a slametan ritual feast. [1]


The kurup is a period of 120 tahun, or lunar years. There are thus 1440 lunar months, or 15 windu in a kurup. One day is dropped from the last month of Besar having 30 days, resulting in the last windu of the kurup having one less day than usual. Thus, the total number of days in a kurup is 42,524 (2,835 days in a windu x 15 windu - 1 day). This is the same number of days as in 120 lunar years of the Tabular Islamic Calendar.

Each kurup is named for date of the wetonan cycle on which the kurup commences. As this always falls in the Alip (first) year of the windu, it is prefixed with Alip. The current kurup started on Tuesday, March 24 of 1936 CE, which corresponds to Muharram 01 of 1355 AH in the Tabular Islamic Calendar, and will end on Sunday, August 25 of 2052 CE. As the wetonan date of that day was Selasa Pon, the kurup is named Alip Selasa Pon.

The next kurup will commence on Monday, August 26 of 2052 CE, which corresponds to Muharram 01 of 1475 AH in the Tabular Islamic Calendar, and will end on Saturday, January 28 of 2169 CE, and will be named Alip Senin Pahing. [10]

Dina Mulya

Dina Mulya (literally "noble days") are celebrated by worshipping Gusti, the creator of life and the universe. Practitioners of traditional Javanese spiritual teachings have preserved several noble days: [6]

See also

Related Research Articles

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Islamic New Year holiday

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The Hijri year or era is the era used in the Islamic lunar calendar, which begins its count from the Islamic New Year in 622 CE. During that year, Muhammad and his followers migrated from Mecca to Yathrib. This event, known as the Hijra, is commemorated in Islam for its role in the founding of the first Muslim community (ummah).

Satu Suro (Javanese:ꦱꦶꦗꦶꦱꦸꦫ) is the first day of the Javanese calendar year in the month of Sura, corresponding with the Islamic month of Muharram.

Javanese culture culture of the Javanese people

Javanese culture is the culture of the Javanese ethnic group in Indonesia, part of the Indonesian culture. Javanese culture is centered in the Central Java, Yogyakarta and East Java provinces of Indonesia. Due to various migrations, it can also be found in other parts of the world, such as Suriname, the broader Indonesian archipelago region, Cape Malay, Malaysia, Singapore, Netherlands and other countries. The migrants bring with them various aspects of Javanese cultures such as Gamelan music, traditional dances and art of Wayang kulit shadow play.

Bengali calendars calendar

The Bengali Calendar or Bangla Calendar is a luni-solar calendar used in the Bengal region of the Indian subcontinent. A revised version of the calendar is the national and official calendar in Bangladesh and an earlier version of the calendar is followed in the Indian states of West Bengal, Tripura and Assam. The New Year in the Bengali calendar is known as Pohela Boishakh.

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.

The Solar Hijri calendar, also called the Solar Hejri calendar or Shamsi Hijri calendar, and abbreviated as SH, is the official calendar of Iran and Afghanistan. It begins on the March equinox (Nowruz) as determined by astronomical calculation for the Iran Standard Time meridian and has years of 365 or 366 days.

Pasar Kliwon Village in Central Java, Indonesia

Pasar Kliwon is one of the villages in the Pasar Kliwon District, Surakarta in Indonesia.


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Further reading