Constellations Calendars and Cosmology in Southeast Asia

The people of Bali are closely related to those of Java, and their Brahmanic ideas include many early doctrines, which were completely eliminated in Java by Islamic conquerors. Their astronomy and calendar contain many elements that may have roots as early as the 1st century a.d. and are, in some aspects, apparently more archaic than are most of the surviving astronomical texts from India. The major components of the Balinese calendar are the solar year, the lunar year, a 32-month lunar cycle, the lunar (synodic) month, and 10 concurrently running series of waras, usually translated "weeks" from one to ten days in length. See Table 9.4. The various waras are related to a cycle of 210 days called the Pawukon cycle, which contains 30 named 7-day weeks, (it also contains 70 weeks of 3 days, 42 weeks of 5 days, and 35 weeks of 6 days). For the 4-day week, the 8-day week, and the 9-day week, intercalations bring them into step with the 210-day cycle! Considering first the sequences without intercalation, the most important by far are the 5-day and 7-day weeks. The 7-day week corresponds to our week, with the first day, Redite, corresponding to Sunday. The association with the planets is direct and exactly corresponds to the western usage. This derives directly from the Hindu week (with modified Sanskrit names) and thus relates back to Hellenistic times. The Balinese culture is alone in having named

7-day weeks. As seen in Table 9.4, the 30 names begin with the week Sinta, which in modern Bali is always considered the lst week of the Pawukon.

Among the weeks with intercalations, we discuss first the 9-day week. Dangu is the 1st day of the 9-day week. The 210-day cycle begins (in Sinta) with 4 days that repeat the name Dangu, and continues for the rest of the 9-day week sequence, which is then repeated sequentially until the 210-day cycle is completed. The intercalations in the 4-day and

8-day also take the form of repetitions at the beginning of Dunggulan, the 11th of the named 7-day weeks and, therefore, at day 71 of the Pawukon. At the beginning of Dung-gulan, in the 4-day week, there are three successive days named Jaya, and in the 8-day week, there are three successive days named Kala.

The days of the 1-, 2-, and 10-day weeks are not sequential but are determined by numerology. Each day name in the 5- and 7-day weeks has a ritual number (urip). One determines the day in the 2-day week by adding the numbers of the particular day in the 5-day week and the corresponding day in the 7-day week. If the result is even, the day is Menga and if odd, Pepet. The day name of the 1-day "week" is Luang, which, however, only occurs on days Pepet. Days corresponding to Menga have no name in the 1-day week. For the 10-day week, the sequence of days is similarly determined from the combined urips of the 5-and 7-day weeks; the remainder of the fraction: (sum + 1)/10 determines the number of the day in the 10-day week. Thus, the urip associated with the day Paing in the 5-day week is 9; the urip associated with Wraspati in the 7-day week is 8; so the sum + 1 is 18 and the remainder, modulo 10, is 8. Therefore, the day is Raja in the 10-day week (see Table 9.4).

Table 9.4. Components of the pawukon or 210-day cycle of the Balinese calendar.

Non-sequential components

Sequential components

Sequential components of the

The named seven-day

of the pawukon

of the pawukon

pawukon needing intercalation

weeks of the pawukon

One-day week

Three-day week

Four-day week

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