Jumat, 20 Juni 2008

Javanese Calendar

The Javanese calendar is a calendar used by the Javanese people. It was created by Sultan Agung of Mataram in the 17th century C.E, giving the Javanese a calendar that ties in with the Islamic calendar, and broke with the previously used Hindu calendar. It officially replaced the earlier use of Saka years in 1633.[1] Years given in the Javanese calendar are sometimes referred to using the Latin term Anno Javanico.

There are two other calendars in use in Java, the Gregorian calendar and the Islamic calendar. The Gregorian calendar is used for commerce and international communications, while the Islamic calendar marks days of religious importance in Islam. The Javanese calendar is used for cultural, historical, and metaphysical purposes.[2]

There are several systems of designating days, but the principal one is tied to the sequence of the lunar calendar used in Islam, and therefore "floats" against the Gregorian calendar. The calendar includes a number of inter-related cycles, including a pasaran cycle of five days, the familiar seven-day week, mangsa and wulan month-long cycles, tahun cycles of years, and cycles of years in windu. Coincidences in these cycles have an important numerical and mystical meaning, coincidence being an important part of the Javanese aesthetic, as for example the use of seleh in Javanese music.[2]

Cycles of days

Pasaran cycle

The pasaran cycle dates from when villages converged to a marketplace (pasar) every five days to buy and sell wares. Itinerant merchants would go to a different village each day of this cycle. The arbitrary length of the cycle is perhaps related to the number of fingers on the hand.[3] The days of the cycle were named (ngoko, with krama in parentheses):
  1. Legi (manis)
  2. Pahing (pait)
  3. Pon (petak)
  4. Wagé (cemeng)
  5. Kliwon (asih)

The origin of these terms is unclear, and their etymology remains obscure. However, Javanese consider the names to have a mystical relation to colors, and direction: Legi represents white and east, Pahing red and south, Pon yellow and west, Wagi black and north, and Kliwon mixed color and focus, or center. It is possible the names derive from the names of national gods, as the European and Asian names do.[3] In an ancient Javanese manuscript, the week days are represented by five human figures (shown at right below the day names), which appear to show the week in order as: 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.[4]

Markets are now operational every day, but many Javanese believe that the pasaran cycle grants certain characteristics to people born under it. In some cities, traces of this system are visible in the names of market districts; for example in Surakarta, there is Pasar Legi, Pasar Pon, and Pasar Kliwon, which had markets on the given days. It also forms part of the wetonan cycle, described below.

Seven-day week

The Javanese use a seven-day week (dina pitu, "seven days") derived from the Islamic calendar. The names of the days of the week in Javanese, derived from their Arabic counterparts, are:

Days of 7-Day Week
Javanese Arabic English
Seninyaum al-ithnayn يوم الإثنينMonday
Selasayaum ath-thalatha' يوم الثُّلَاثاءTuesday
Reboyaum al-arba`a' يوم الأَرْبعاءWednesday
Kemisyaum al-khamis يوم الخَمِيسThursday
Jumatyaum al-jum`a يوم الجُمْعَةFriday
Setuyaum as-sabt يوم السَّبْتSaturday
Minggu/Ahad yaum al-ahad يوم الأحدSunday

Wetonan cycle

The 'wetonan cycle superimposes the five-day pasaran cycle with the seven-day week. Each cycle lasts 35 days, and is named using the week day name and the pasaran day name. In English, either the Javanese or the English names of the week can be used to designate a particular weton, or specific day in the cycle. For example, the seven days following Senin (Monday) Legi are Selasa (Tuesday) Pahing, Rebo (Wednesday) Pon, Kemis (Thursday) Wagé, Jumat (Friday) Kliwon, Setu (Saturday) Legi, Minggu (Sunday) Pahing, and Seni (Monday) Pon. The repetitions of this cycle are regarded similar to months, but do not have fixed starting and ending points, and are not named in the manner of the month cycles described below.

This cycle is frequently encountered in divinatory systems, and important events are held on propitious days. One example is the proclamation of the Republic of Indonesia on August 17 1945, a Friday legi (Jumat legi). Sultan Agung, one of the most famous kings in Javanese history, was born and died on a Friday legi as well.[5] Friday Legi is also an important night of pilgrimage.[6] There are also taboos that relate to the cycle; for example, the ritual dance bedhaya can only be performed on Thursday Kliwon.[7]

The pasaran cycle, the week cycle, and their interlocking in the wetonan cycle each are traditionally thought to give certain characteristics to people born on those days, analogous to the planetary positions in Western astrology.[8]


The pawukon is a 210-day cycle that is related to Hindu tradition. It is most associated with Bali but is also used in Java for special purposes. The calendar consists of concurrent weeks, like the wetonan, but has a set of ten different weeks of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 days. The first day of the year is the first day of all 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.


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.[9]

Cycles of months

Pranata Mangsa

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

Pranata mangsa[11]
Starting day Name Length (days)Description
Jun 23Mangsa Kaso41The 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 Karo23The dry season; parched earth lies in hard clumps; the mango and cotton trees begin to bloom.
Aug 26Mangsa Katelu24The dry season; spice roots are harvested; the gadung tree begins to bear fruit.
Sep 19Mangsa Kapat25Rain 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 Kalima27The 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 Kanem43The rainy season; lightning strikes and there are landslides; but it is also the season of many fruit.
Dec 23Mangsa Kapitu43The rainy season is at its peak; birds are hard pressed to find food, and in many areas there is severe flooding.
Feb 4/5Mangsa Kawolu27The rainy season; rice fields are growing and the cat is looking for his mate; grubs and larvae abound.
Mar 2Mangsa Kasanga25The 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 Kasadasa24Rain yet falls, but is diminishing; the wind rustles and blows hard; the air is still chilly. The Mareng Season is at hand.
Apr 20Mangsa Desta23The 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 Saddha41The dry season; water begins to recede, "vanishing from its many places".

In the nineteenth century, the pranata mangsa was much better known among Javanese than the civil or religious year, described below.[12] 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.[13] Although the cycle matches the weather pattern well, it is still clearly somewhat arbitrary, as can be seen by the fact that the lengths of the first and last month, the second and eleventh, and so on, match.[14]

The pranata mangsa can be 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.[2]


Each lunar year (tahun) is divided into a series of twelve wulan ("months", of 29 or 30 days each). This is similar to the use of months in the Islamic calendar. The names of the month are given below (in krama/ngoko):
  1. Warana/Sura (30 days)
  2. Wadana/Sapar (29 days)
  3. Wijanga/Mulud (30 days)
  4. Wiyana/Bakda Mulud (29 days)
  5. Widada/Jumadil Awal (30 days)
  6. Widarpa/Jumadil Akhir (29 days)
  7. Wilarpa/Rejeb (30 days)
  8. Wahana/Ruwah (29 days)
  9. Wanana/Pasa (30 days)
  10. Wurana/Sawal (29 days)
  11. Wujana/Sela (30 days)
  12. Wujala/Besar (29 or 30 days, depending on the length of the tahun, see below)

The cycle of months is 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).[9]

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.[15] 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 derive from the Saka calendar.

Windu are no longer used much in horoscopy, but there is evidence that there were 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).[2]

Dino Mulyo

Dino Mulyo (literally "noble days") are celebrated by worshipping Gusti, the creator of life and the universe. Practitioners of traditional Javanese spiritual teachings have preserved five noble days:[9]
  • Satu Suro, the first of Sura, the New Year
  • Aboge (from A - alip (first year), Bo - rebo (Wednesday), and Ge - Wage of the pasaran), celebrated on Wednesday Wage in the year of alip
  • Daltugi (from Dal - Dal (fifth year), tu - setu (Saturday), and Gi - Legi of the pasaran), celebrated on Saturday Legi in the year of Dal
  • Hanggara Asih (Tuesday Kliwon)
  • Dino Purnomo: Jemuah Legi/Sukra Manis (Friday Legi)

See also


1. ^ M.C. Ricklefs. A History of Modern Indonesia Since c. 1300, 2nd ed. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1993. ISBN 0804721955. Page 46
2. ^ [1] The Javanese Calendar by Matthew Arciniega
3. ^ John Crawfurd. History of the Indian Archipelago, vol. 1. Edinburgh: Archibald Constable and Co., 1820. Page 290.
4. ^ Crawfurd, 290-291, and plate 7.
5. ^ Joglosemar article
6. ^ Klaus Furmann, der javanischen Pilgerschaft zu Heiligenschreinen, Dissertation for Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg i. Br., 2000, page 231
7. ^ Kunst, Jaap. Music in Java. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1949, page 151-152.
8. ^ [2] More about Javanese Wetonan by Matthew Arciniega
9. ^ [3] Javanese Calendar and Its Significance to Mystical Life by Suryo S. Negoro
10. ^ Crawfurd, 296.
11. ^ Ki Hudoyo Doyodipuro, Misteri Pranata Mangsa. Semarang: Dahara Prize (1995), cited on [4]
12. ^ Crawfurd, 295.
13. ^ Crawfurd, 297.
14. ^ Crawfurd, 299.
15. ^ Crawfurd, 301.

Further reading

  • Pigeaud, Th., Javaans-Nederlands Woordenboek. Groningen-Batavia: J.B. Wolters, 1938
  • Quinn, George The Javanese science of 'burglary' , RIMA. Review of Indonesian and Malaysian Affairs, IX:1 January-June 1975. pp.33-54.
  • Ricklefs, M.C., Modern Javanese historical tradition: a study of an original Kartasura chronicle and related materials. London: School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, 1978
  • Soebardi. Calendrical traditions in Indonesia Madjalah IIlmu-ilmu Satsra Indonesia, 1965 no.3.

External links

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