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Home » Arts & Culture

The Art of Expressing Time  

by on Tuesday, 20 February 2007No Comment | 1,198 views


Sad but true, nowadays, many Balinese especially the younger generation do not know how to express and measuring time in traditional Balinese way. Ability to express and measure time in traditional way is now a rare talent, privilege of older generation. An ordinary and widely known knowledge in the past now become a rare one used only for deciding the right time for a ceremony by a handful of senior citizen.

In Balinese traditional time system, a day begin in the morning, sunrise is a mark of new day. Another method used in old time to determine the beginning of a new day is by throwing a Chinese coin to the ground early in the morning and when the coin is visible without any additional light, a new day begins. Most of Balinese think that the Balinese time system in determining the beginning of a day is similar to the western system; a new day begins in the midnight, 12 M.

In traditional Balinese time system, a day is divided into eight dauh, or period of time. A dauh is equivalent to an hour and half. They were named by appending the number word to the word dauh. They are

I. Dauh pisan 6:00 A.M. – 7:30 A.M.
II. Dauh ro 7:30 A.M. – 9:00 A.M.
III. Dauh telu 9:00 A.M. – 10:30 A.M.
IV. Dauh pat 10:30 A.M. – 12:00 M.
V. Dauh lima 12:00 M. – 1:30 P.M.
VI. Dauh nem 1:30 P.M. – 3:00 P.M.
VII. Dauh pitu 3:00 P.M. – 4:30 P.M.
VIII. Dauh kutus 4:30 P.M. – 6:00 P.M.

After dauh kutus (6:00 P.M.), the day is not measured, since nighttime for Balinese is a time for rest and relax, a measurement of time is not necessary. Besides there is no time-sensitive ceremony such as Manusa Yadnya, rites for human is held after sun down. Odalan, temple anniversary may last until late at night but it is not a time-sensitive ceremony, it has its own time and held regularly.

The dauh division is needed in time-sensitive ceremony, or ceremony that is not held regularly and an auspicious time for this ceremony is calculated and settled long before the preparation of the ceremony, this kind of ceremony includes cremation, wedding, tooth filling, etc.

Preservation of simple traditional knowledge, such as expressing and measuring time is needed for the continuity of Balinese culture.

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