Balinese Stories

Pawukon

The Pawukon is a 210 day calendar that has its origin in Java, but it is still today widely used by the Balinese. 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. In Bali it is used to determine the proper dates of temple anniversaries and ceremonies, as well as the best day and time to make a fishing net, get married, start a business, build a house and other events both large and small.

There are 30 seven-day weeks in a wuku year, each with a different name. The origin of the weeks' names is told in the legend of Sinta, a woman who became pregnant after she dreamed she slept with a holy man, giving birth to a beautiful child. One day Sinta lost her temper when the boy misbehaved, and struck him, wounding him on the head. The child run away and his grieving mother searched for him in vain for years.

In time, the child became the powerful ruler of the country of Giling Wesi, where he was known as Watu Gunung (Stone Mountain). One day his wandering mother came to Giling Wesi accompanied by her sister Landep. Watu Gunung was so overwhelmed by the strangers' beauty  that he married them both, having in due time 27 children by his mother and aunt.

One day Sinta recognized the scar on Watu Gunung's head and became aware that he was her son and they had committed incest. To avert the wrath of the gods,  it was decided that Watu Gunung should marry the goddess Sri, wife of Wisnu, thus becoming a god himself, and free of the curse of incest. But Watu Gunung rejected this solution and declared war on the gods. Wisnu took command of the armies which he sent to punish Watu Gunung's arrogance and finally defeated him. To celebrate this victory it was decreed that his 27 sons be killed, one every seven days. Sinta wept for seven days and was received into heaven, so Wisnu added her name as well as her sister's Landep and Watu Gunung's to the 27,  and established the 30 weeks as an everlasting sign of his victory.