Balinese naming tradition is closely related to social strata or castes, and names reflect cast not family or group. What is the foundation of cast in Bali, that is a continuing debate, but the history tells us that is profession at one side and the influence of Indian tradition at the other sides. Among 4 casts can be summed up as Brahmana Cast has the function relating to the religious rituals, Kesatrya Cast has the function of ruling the country, Waisya Cast has the function in moving the economic sector, and Sudra, being the lowest is the labour or servant.
Current fact in Balinese society is not consistent with what are written and what people knows from the tradition. It seems that the cast is based on genealogy instead of function. It is hard to know when it's concept was changed, but a period from 1345 AD to 16th century was supposed the probable time of the shifting.
There are different treatment in term of language, attitude, and place for each of the cast. Especially for the older generation, say before 1960s. Seen from the language, Balinese then introduces 3 level of language based on respectability levels. Lowest layer is the Sudra, and among them there is a dialect they speak for their layer, with a little bit variation if Waisya talk to the Sudra, and if the Sudra talk to their higher castes. For those considered upper layers ( 3 casts ) which are also called "tri-wangsa" ( three-blood ) has a distinct dialect with slight variation if the Kesatrya talk to Brahmana, and a Brahmana talk to a Kesatrya. Among 3 upper casts and 1 considered lower cast there are a great different in the way of communication. The basic concept of this dialect is that: A lower cast if saying words that are referring to the activity, attributes, characters or ownership of high casts the words to be used are their words. While if a low cast saying about their own activity, characters, attributes or ownership in front of the high cast they must speak their own words. So basically the lower cast must put themselves lower than the higher cast in whatever event which must be reflected by their two-way communication. That is also the higher cast will put themselves higher then their Sudra and Waisya casts by reflecting an expression of their communication and attitudes.
Example of Names
Here are some notes on the names of each cast:
Man begins with "I" example I Made Putra
Woman begins with "Ni" example Ni Made Putri
I or Ni indicate sex, while Made is the number of birth. In 1343 Balinese was expected to have no more then 4 children, and this tradition was pioneered by the palace. The tradition relating to the number of birth in Bali exists that a family would name their children as follows:
First child : Wayan or Gede or Putu
Second child: Made or Nengah
Third child: Nyoman or Komang
Fourth child: Ketut
In case a family has more than 4 children then the naming be returned to the beginning, so in the past it was common in Balinese family had more than 2 Wayans or Mades or Nyomans, even Ketuts. Since 1970s it is very rare a Balinese family has Ketut, large part only up to Made with the success of family planning. Let us see the name: I Made Putra. It means a man, second child with the name of Putra from Sudra cast.
Kesatrya and Waisya Casts
Within the Kesatrya cast itself has developed many group or families bearing different group title. For example the Kesatrya cast in Ubud called themselves as "Cokorda", while the rest of Bali called themselves as " Anak Agung " or " I Gusti Agung" But in the past when the cast system first developed in Bali the ruling class used the group title as " Dewa " or " Dalem ". This is become complicated again because until today there are many families called themselves as the family group of "Dewa" or "Gusti" and of "Anak Agung" and of " Cokorda". The changes of the title was started by the Dutch when they tried to make an agreement with Balinese kings in 1929, the highest king of Bali in Klungkung was given the title "Sesuhunan" The king of Gianyar who was first open co-operation with Dutch I Dewa Keramas was given title " Cokorda" and the rest 8 kings were given the name "Anak Agung". It is important to know that not all lower kings under Klungkung were descendant of Kepakisan dynasty or from Dewa, only Gianyar and Bangli were the descendant of Kepakisan dynasty, the rest were from Arya group. The emisaries of the Dutch were a very genious people in making the kings feel in the sky by giving them an accost of " Sesuhunan " meaning who is suitable to be put on one's head for the main king of Bali in Klungkung I Dewa Agung Dimade, while smaller kings such as Gianyar, Tabanan, Karangasem, Bangli and Mengwi, being lower king and some of them came from army heads such as Arya families were called "I Gusti Agung or Anak Agung" meaning great man, while other called Cokorda meaning the leg of main king ( later only known as Cokorda ). As an hereditary the descendants of main king of Klungkung can be found still in Bali with the grup name preceeded with " Dewa ", actually meaning God, while high dignitaries which was known to have tittle Rakryan mostly from the group of Arya with the name "Gusti"
For man : Anak Agung ( abbreviated as A.A ), I Gusti Agung ( abbreviated as I.G.A), I Dewa Gede/Made/Nyoman/Ketut ( abbreviated as I.D.G, I.D.M, I.D.N., I.D.K )
For woman: Anak Agung Ayu ( abbreviated as A.A.A.), I Gusti Ayu ( abbreviated as I.G.A.), Desak Ayu or Desak Putu. In these casts it is not always explicitly mentioned the number of birth, although within their family this is also in use. Some example of names among various names being currently used:
Men: A.A. Ngurah Oka, I.G.N. Ngurah Gorda, Cok. Sidharta, I.D.G. Oka, and so on,
Women: I G A Surasmi, Cok. Ayu Putri, Desak Ayu Raka, Gusti Ayu Rai, and so on.
Brahmana cast is the most easiest to identify, because it is always started with I.B. for men, and I.A. for women. I.B. is the abbreviation of Ida Bagus, and I.A. is the abbreviation of Ida Ayu. No other variation of the names. The same as Kesatrya casts that the number of birth is not quiet explicitly expressed although in some family they used internally.
During the course of history Balinese has experienced 2 great influences in naming tradition. Those Balinese who are not influenced very deep by the literatures of India still hold the tradition of their ancestors, although in fact they are Hindu. This covers the areas of countryside, villages or settlements those have not been easy to communicate with outsiders due to transportation. Until today you can still find those people with the strange sounds of names such as : I Gerudug, Ni Kembung, I Dabdab, I Kelepus, etc.
With wide spread of Sanskrit influence than Balinese heard the sound of Sanskrit more nice and refine. From here we introduce the name such as : Putra, Putri, Adnyana, Adnyani, Hartawan, Hartawati, etc, where the name with ending " a " means men, and ending with "i" indicates women. Since 1960s, it looks that the Sanskrit words have been deeply accepted by Balinese and used it widely especially for naming their children.
Starting by the coming of Christian missionaries in Bali, in late 1800s, Western names have started to take place in Balinese heart. This is especially very strong tendencies using western name starting 1980s, not only by converted Balinese into Christian, but also Balinese Hindu and Balinese Buddhist. They might feel by using western names they will be considered "modern". That is why you will not difficult to find Balinese with the name of "Vivi", but she herself can not pronounce "V", Deborah, Angelica, Catherine, Robert, Tommy, Vincent, and so on. Almost all the western names can't be pronounced correctly, especially those alphabets produced with bilabial or dental articulation.
An other small group of Balinese also try to imitate naming system using family names. But this is not many, most of them are overwhelmed by the fact of western modern image that penetrating all aspect of life.
If we look back to the historical names of Balinese Royal family, those indianized ( Sanskritized ) names or terminologies are the prime inspiration of all people in Bali. In the beginning, the use of all Sanskrit words was solely the privilege of royal and religious functionaries. It is quiet different if we see the process of using western names or terminologies. The spread of western names and terminologies was a result of individual contact bigger than religious missions or even political conspiracy. While indianized names and terminologies were inspirited by royal families and religious functionaries.
Lately appears a preference among so called educated families, tend to name their child with long name, not only 2-words phrase which will give administrative difficulties off or on line, beside such long name relates nothing to families, religious, and clan. As tradition follow, by birth only for Balinese has already 2 words I Wayan, I Made, I Nyoman, I Ketut, so with newly prefered names it can be long phrase such as I Wayan Budi Santika Satria Wibawa Unggul for example. Such name only creating difficulties on child life by abbreviaing I.W B.S.S.W Unggul. It seems to give an impression of academical titles would good sound.
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Among various tour packages and tour options in Bali there are some tours which can be said always on the publications and interest a large part of travellers to Bali. Kintamani mountain tour sits at the first number as the most popular sightseeing tour, second is Taman Ayun and Tanah Lot tour, third is Uluwatu temple tour.