The Balinese lunar calendar is very important in the daily life of the Balinese community. Unlike other regular calenders the Bali Çaka Calender is very special. It is not astronomical like the Muslim calendar, nor arithmetise like the Java calendar, but 'something' in between.
The Balinese lunar calendar is similar to luni-solar based on the position of the sun and the moon at the same time.
In a compromise it was agreed that: 1 day = 1 day of solar moon. In fact, one moon day is not equal to the length of a solar day. For every 63 days (9 wuku) is a set of single-day solar day equal to two-moon. Today it is called pangunalatri. It is not difficult to apply the theory of arithmetics and a fairly good degree of accuracy requires only one day of correction in a hundred years.
In the first month or sasih moon, it is agreed there are 30 days including 15 days before the full moon called penanggal or suklapaksa, followed by 15 days before new moon (tilem) called panglong or kresnakapsa. Penanggal written from a new month, until 15 is full, use red on the calendar printing. After the full moon, the cycle is repeated again from number one on the day after full moon until the 15th of the month of death (tilem) using the color black. In mathematical calculations, to distinguish colours, titi is often used. Titi is a serial of numbers from one of the new months, up to 30 dead in months.
The months length is not the same solar with sasih length (moon month). Sasih length fluctuates depending on the distances of the Moon and Earth. The solar year period is therefore approximately 11 days longer than a moon year. To align it, roughly each three moon years one extra sasih is added. Ideally the beginning of the year falls on a part-solar-end sasih sixth (Kanem) or part-early seventh sasih (Kapitu), so the new year of Çaka (Nyepi holiday) always falls around the the end of months that part the beginning of March until April.
The Lunar new year for Bali, Nyepi is not taking place at the first sasih (Kasa), but, on the tenth sasih (Kadasa). Since the holiday Nyepi, the rate increases Çaka year by year being a solar year figure of minus 78 AD.
Many piodalan or temple ceremonies in Bali are determined according to the Çaka calendar. Some holy days are also based on the Çaka year, for example, Nyepi Day and Holy Day Siwaratri. Good and Bad days for various agricultural and industrial purposes are also very dependent on the Çaka year, because the Çaka year is closely related to the changes of season. On the calendar, prints made by Balinese calender experts and filled with instructions and analysis about the pros and cons of each day. Even behind each page there is information printed densely as there isn't enough room on the front pages. Despite the importance of the Balinese calendar it seems to always be printed with simple quality paper.
Worth to mention, The role of the young Balinese generations in the Calender do hardly exist at all. Activities such as: good day to pierce the buffalo's nose, a good day to plant rice and so on are still being listed as in the original Calenders though these activities are slowly getting less attention.
Perhaps what is needed for the younger generation to get more involved and use the Çaka Calender on a daily basis is instructions when it's a good day to format the hard disk, do facebook, tune-ups to the scooter or buy and new mobile phone, but, giving it a second thought, is this what a sound and steady Bali calender needs?
The pawukon calender is pure arithmetic. This calendar does not record the numbers in the beginning, and spin cycles without stopping. One pawukon year is 210 days, divided into seven units daily which amounts to 30 named wuku. Each Wuku has a name, not much different from wuku names in Java, from which the calculation is derived. The Pawukon calendar month does not take the phase of the seasons into account.
The new year in the calendar pawukon is not known, however, the beginning and end are. The Pawukon beginning cycle is marked by purifying oneself, bathe and swim in the sea or lake, known as a holy day Banyu Pinaruh. After this holy day it ends with a ceremony on the day Sanghyang Aji Saraswati Saniscara Umanis Watugunung.
Because most major holidays in Bali are pawukon determined based on this cycle; the knowledge of this pawukon cycle will be very helpful.
Here is an extremely useful digital online version of Kalender Bali for those without the paper version at hand:
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Çaka Calender (Saka) - Pawukon Calender - Kalender Bali Online
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