Javanese Calendar and its Significance to Mystical Life

A Javanese calendar same as any other calendar indicates years, months, dates, days of a certain period of time. In Javanese calendar besides the seven days (Sunday to Saturday), there are the 5 Pasaran days: Kliwon, Legi, Paing, Pon and Wage.

In Java, both kind of days are combined to remember important events for instance: someone was born in Sunday Kliwon or Sunday Wage etc; someone had passed away in Friday Legi or Friday Pon. The famous Sultan Agung, a powerful king of the 2nd Mataram Kingdom was born and passed away on Friday Legi.

He is adored as a wise king of Java. The proclamation of Independence of the Republic of Indonesia, August 17, 1945 was on Friday Legi. A traditional Javanese should not marry or organize important events on a 'bad day' i.e. the days of the death of his/her mother and father.

Symbols of Life Circle
The Javanese calendar indicate life circle of human-beings, a life created by Gusti, the Creator of the Universe, God the Almighty.

The Years
There are 8 names of year. This international year of 1999 is equivalent of Javanese year: Ehe, 1932, starting from month of Sura, the first month.
The complete names of the year are:

  1. Purwana/Alip means: ada-ada (starting a wish/initiative)
  2. Karyana/Ehe means: Tumandang (make)
  3. Anama/Jemawal means: gawe (work)
  4. Lalana/Je means: lelakon(process, fate)
  5. Ngawanga/Dal means: Urip (life)
  6. Pawaka/Be means: bola-bali (always return)
  7. Wasana/Wawu means: Marang (to the direction)
  8. Swasana/Jimakir means: Suwung (void)

The 8 years compose a sentence: ada-ada tumandang gawe lelakon urip bola-bali marang suwung means: It starts by making activities for the process of life, it always returns to void. The word year in Javanese Tahun means seed (wiji in Javanese). The 8 years explain the process of wiji, always return to void (suwung) i.e. born - died. Born-died, always rotating.

The months
A year consists of 12 months; indicates sangkan pararing dumadi (where it comes from and where it goes). There are 12 processes (the names of the months which are levels of each process)

  1. Warana/Sura means Rijal
  2. Wadana/Sapar means wiwit
  3. Wijanga/Mulud means kanda
  4. Wiyana/Bakda Mulud means Ambuka
  5. Widada/Jumadi Awal means wiwara
  6. Widarpa/Jumadi Akhir means rahsa
  7. Wilapa/Rejeb means Purwa
  8. Wahana/Ruwah means Dumadi
  9. Wanana/Pasa means Madya
  10. Wurana/Sawal means wujud
  11. Wujana/Sela means wusana
  12. Wujala/Besar means suwung

Every existence of a new human life always begins with Rijal (the light of life created by mystical power of God/Gusti). A human circle of life is from Rijal back to Rijal again thru suwung (void). From the 1st month to 9th month the new human is in the mother's womb in the process to be a perfect living baby, ready to born, from the 10th month becomes a human living in this world. The 11th month symbolizes the end of his/her existence in the world i.e. wusana means afterwards. The last is suwung means void, the life goes back to where he/she came from.

With the wish of Gusti, this life shall be Rijal again. It is revolving of life, because life is eternal. Sometimes, an old wise man gives an advice that everyone has to know the essence of sangkan paraning dumadi or purwa, Madya, Wusana, so that he/she should have a good and correct behavior and deed while given the opportunity to live in the world.

The seven days (Dina Pitu, dina-day; pitu-7)
The names of the days are connected with the moon-earth system. The motions (solah) of moon towards earth are names of the seven days.

  1. Adite - Sunday - Minggu, symbolizes standstill (Meneng)
  2. Soma - Monday - Senin, symbolizes forward (Maju)
  3. Hanggara - Tuesday - Selasa, symbolizes backward (mundur)
  4. Buda - Wednesday - Rebo, symbolizes move left (mangiwa)
  5. Respati - Thursday - Kemis, symbolizes move right (manengen)
  6. Sukra - Friday - Jemuah, symbolizes move up (munggah)
  7. Tumpak - Saturday - Setu, symbolizes move down (temurun)

The five Pasaran days (Pasaran Lima - Pasaran Five)
The days of Pasaran are the positions (patrap) of moon.

  1. Kliwon or Asih symbolizes stand-up (jumeneng)
  2. Legi or manis symbolizes retreat (mungkur)
  3. Paing or Pait symbolizes to face or appear in front of (madep)
  4. Pon or Petak symbolizes sleep (sare)
  5. Wage or Cemeng symbolizes sit down (lenggah)

The dates

The dates indicate the motions of moon symbolizing the life of a human in the world.

  • The first date of a Javanese month, the moon is seen very small, just like a line. It could be compared as a newly born baby, night by night it grows bigger and brighter.
  • The 14th date of a Javanese month, it is called Purnama Sidhi, the full moon, symbolizing an adult, having wife/husband.
  • The 15th date of a Javanese month, it is called Purnama, it is full moon, but there is sign to reduce its size and brightness.
  • The 20th date of a Javanese month, it is called Panglong, a human begins to lose memory.
  • The 25th date of a Javanese month, it is called Sumurup, a human has to be taken care like when he/she was a small child/baby.
  • The 26th date of a Javanese month, it is called Manjing, the life of a human returns to where he/she came from back as a Rijal again.
  • The rest of the days (4 or 5 days more) symbolizing the period where Rijal shall be born again as a new life in the world.

This process of life revolving is called Cakra Manggilingan (Cakra - a wheel with sharp gears, manggilingan - always rolling) or Heru Cakra.

A human with good and correct conduct, always followed true path permitted by Gusti, God the Almighty, he/she should know the Sangkan paraning dumadi (you came from holiness, here in earth you live in holiness, you'll go back to holiness again), human with bad morality,he/she should be severely punished "after their death". (see: the experience of R.M. Binaji - the world of spirits - the non perfect spirits - page 2 & 3)

It is clear that moon is very important in Javanese mystical life. Around midnight during the full-moon, the light of moon and stars give a natural power to human-beings (especially their brains & feeling), who remain outside under the night sky. It's an appropriate time to do olah rasa (exercise of feeling) or samadi.

For a seeker of true knowledge, the motions (Solah) and positions (Patrap) of moon are also significant. He/she must be able to choose the most suitable moment for praying or meditation to reach his/her goal. Some also use solah and patrap of moon to accomplish important matters.

Dino Mulyo (Noble days)
Dino means day: Mulyo means noble. The kejawen preservers have 5 most-important noble days in a year. Some people are still commemorating these days by solemnly worshipping to Gusti, the Creator of life and Universe. The "Dino Mulyo" are:

  1. 1st of Sura/Warana
    It's the first day of Javanese calendar, the New Year. In the ancient time, Javanese ancestors had decided the first date based upon their observation of the positions of moon and sun - the 1st of month Sura, in the year of Purwana/Alip. Up to know, it is considered as a sacred day the beginning of life, Created by Gusti.
    A lot of people purify themselves by bathing in the rivers, springs, seas, oceans or in their own residents and stay awake the whole night. Some watching Wayang Kulit/Leather puppet performance. Some visit holy places for self-introspection & meditation.
    The month of Sura is also a proper time for cleaning of heirlooms such as Keris, Tumbak (spears) etc. (kindly click - the article 'commemoration of 1st Suro' for details)

  2. Aboge
    It's an abbreviation of:
    A - alip, the first year or Purwana
    Bo - Rebo, Wednesday or Buda
    Ge - Wage, the last day of Pasaran 5 days
    In the year of alip/purwana, in Wednesday Wage, was the time when Gusti revealed 'Wahyu Manuswa or Maningrat' to Javanese ancestor. Manu means shame; swa means animal, a human started to have shame feeling, different from animal.

  3. Daltugi
    It's an abbreviation of:
    Dal - the year of Dal, the fifth year.
    Tu - setu, Saturday or Tumpak
    Gi - Legi, the second day of Pasaran 5 day
    In the year of Dal/Ngawanga, in Saturday Legi, was the divine revealation of 'Wahyu Suryaningrat' or 'Wahyu Jalma', commemorating the existance of male human-beings.

  4. Hanggara Asih
    It's Tuesday Kliwon (Hanggara-Tuesday, Asih-Kliwon) or Selasa Kliwon. It's the descend of 'Wahyu Cakraningrat' or 'Wahyu Jatmika' in Java.
    Someone began to arrange order in the world. In Javanese, Nata - to arrange order, the person who arrange is called Sang Nata - King/Queen. The beginning of the existence of Sang Nata/king/queen in Java was Hanggara Asih/Tuesday Kliwon. In order to become a king/queen, someone, in the old days, had to receive 'Wahyu Cakraningrat/Jatmika' (Cakraningrat/Jatmika revelation)

  5. Jemuah Legi/Sukra Manis
    It's Friday Legi, also called Dino Purnomo - Purnomo day, it means intact or complete. In the world, they are female and male human-beings. The women started to give birth of babies: boys and girls.

(Suryo S. Negoro)