Welcome to Bali. What Day Is It?

If you live in, or if you’ve ever visited Bali, you’re sure to have noticed a lot of ceremonies and rituals; from a baby’s first steps, the coming of age tooth filing, marriage and cremations to days dedicated to education, trees, iron and new business openings. Many of these occur around the same time every year like Nyepi, the Balinese new year and day of silence, which always seems to happen sometime in March, but never, it seems, on the same date.

To get some insights into why and when these events are celebrated on particular days, it’s useful to understand that there are three calendars in Bali, one of which is the Gregorian calendar that we’re all familiar with; when Mondays follow Sundays and June is before July and we all know it’s the year 2023. It’s used in most of the world for official and business purposes. The other two calendars in Bali however, are different and they’re called the Saka calendar and the Pawukon calendar.

The Saka calendar is a traditional Hindu calendar that is believed to have originated in India and was adopted in Bali in the 14th century. It’s a lunar calendar based on the cycles of the moon and is used to determine religious festivals, auspicious days for ceremonies and rituals, and other important events, like Nyepi, for example.

It’s based on a 12-month cycle, with each month beginning on the day of a new moon and the months are named after the stars that are visible in the sky during each month. The Saka calendar runs 78-years behind the Gregorian calendar, which means this new year on March 22 is actually going to be welcoming 1945!

The Pawukon calendar however, is very different. It’s a unique calendar system that is unique to Bali. It’s based on a 210-day cycle that’s divided into 10-different weeks, each week consisting of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, or 10 days. It’s used primarily to determine agricultural cycles, such as when to plant rice, and when to schedule traditional Balinese ceremonies and rituals. Each week in the Pawukon calendar is associated with a specific set of traditional Balinese ceremonies and rituals.

Here’s where things get a little more complicated, because the Pawukon calendar is also based on a combination of two cycles: a 7-day cycle and a 30-day cycle. The 7-day cycle is called the Wuku, and there are 30 different Wuku cycles that repeat over the 210-day period. While the 30-day cycle is called the Pancawara, and it’s made up of five different sets of days, each named after an element in Balinese Hindu philosophy: fire (anggara), water (bunga), air (wong), earth (beteng), and ether (kulu).

To calculate the days and weeks in the Pawukon calendar, Balinese priests use a complex system of numerical calculations and traditional astrology. The starting date of the calendar is determined by the alignment of the stars, and the calendar is adjusted periodically to account for the changing positions of celestial bodies.

Each day in the Pawukon calendar has a specific name and meaning based on the combination of the Wuku and Pancawara cycles. For example, the first day of the calendar is called “Sinta,” which is the first day of the Wuku cycle and the first day of the Pancawara cycle named after the element of fire. It’s an important cultural and religious tradition in Bali, and the Pawukon calendar’s unique system of days and weeks reflects the rich and complex history of Balinese Hindu philosophy and astrology.

So now, next time you witness a traditional Balinese ceremony you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions and probe a little deeper into the island’s rich culture and learn more about what makes Bali such a special place to be.

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Andrzej Barski

Director of Seven Stones Indonesia

Andrzej is Co-owner/ Founder and Director of Seven Stones Indonesia. He was born in the UK to Polish parents and has been living in Indonesia for more than 33-years. He is a skilled writer, trainer and marketer with a deep understanding of Indonesia and its many cultures after spending many years travelling across the archipelago from North Sumatra to Irian Jaya.

His experience covers Marketing, Branding, Advertising, Publishing, Real Estate and Training for 5-Star Hotels and Resorts in Bali and Jakarta, which has given him a passion for the customer experience. He’s a published author and a regular contributor to local and regional publications. His interests include conservation, eco-conscious initiatives, spirituality and motorcycles. Andrzej speaks English and Indonesian.

Terje H. Nilsen

Director of Seven Stones Indonesia

Terje is from Norway and has been living in Indonesia for over 20-years. He first came to Indonesia as a child and after earning his degree in Business Administration from the University of Agder in Norway, he moved to Indonesia in 1993, where he has worked in leading positions in education and the fitness/ wellness industries all over Indonesia including Jakarta, Banjarmasin, Medan and Bali.

He was Co-owner and CEO of the Paradise Property Group for 10-years and led the company to great success. He is now Co-owner/ Founder and Director of Seven Stones Indonesia offering market entry services for foreign investors, legal advice, sourcing of investments and in particular real estate investments. He has a soft spot for eco-friendly and socially sustainable projects and investments, while his personal business strengths are in property law, tourism trends, macroeconomics, Indonesian government and regulations. His personal interests are in sport, adventure, history and spiritual experiences.

Terje’s leadership, drive and knowledge are recognised across many industries and his unrivalled network of high level contacts in government and business spans the globe. He believes you do good and do well but always in that order. Terje speaks English, Indonesian and Norwegian.

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Ridwan Jasin Zachrie

CFO of Seven Stones Indonesia, Jakarta

Ridwan is one of Indonesia’s top executives with a long and illustrious career in the financial world. He holds several professional certifications including being a Certified Business Valuer (CBV) issued by the Australian Academy of Finance and Management; Broker-Dealer Representative (WPPE); and The Directorship Certification for Directors and Commissioners, issued by the Indonesian Institute of Commissioners and Directors.

His experience includes being the Managing Director at one of the top investment banking groups in the region, the Recapital Group, the CFO at State-owned enterprises in fishery industry and the CEO at Tanri Abeng & Son Holding. He’s also been an Independent Commissioner in several Financial Service companies and on the Audit and Risk Committee at Bank BTPN Tbk, Berau Coal Energy Tbk, Aetra Air Jakarta as well as working for Citibank, Bank Mandiri and HSBC. His last position was as CFO at PT Citra Putra Mandiri – OSO Group.

Ridwan has won a number of prestigious awards including the Best CFO Awards 2019 (Institute of Certified Management Accountant Australia-Indonesia); Asia Pacific Young Business Leader awarded by Asia 21 Network New York USA (Tokyo 2008); UK Alumni Business Awards 2008 awarded by the British Council; and The Most Inspiring Human Resources Practitioners’ version of Human Capital Magazine 2010.

He’s a member of the Board of Trustees of the Alumni Association of the Faculty of Law, Trisakti University, Co-Founder of the Paramadina Public Policy Institute and actively writes books, publications and articles in the mass media. He co-authored “Korupsi Mengorupsi Indonesia” in 2009, which helps those with an interest in understanding governance in Indonesia and the critical issue of corruption. Ridwan speaks Indonesian and English.

Per Fredrik Ecker

Managing Director of Seven Stones Indonesia, Jakarta

Per is the Managing Director of the Seven Stones Indonesia (SSI) Jakarta office and has more than 25-years’ experience in Indonesia, China, and Western Europe. He previously worked in senior management positions with Q-Free ASA, Siemens AG, and other companies in the telecom sector. Over the last six years, he has been the Chairman of the Indonesia-Norway Business Council (INBC) and recently become elected to be on the board of EuroCham Indonesia.

His most recent experience is within Intelligent Transport Solutions (ITS), Telecom, and other sectors within the Indonesian market. He is today through his position in SSI and by representing Norway Connect, promoting Nordic and European companies that would like to explore business opportunities in the Indonesian market. He’s also playing an active role to help create the Nordic House concept in Jakarta that will provide an excellent platform for Nordic companies entering Indonesia, where they’ll find a community that can offer support with trusted information and affordable services to enter this market.