Navigating Life's Milestones with the Javanese Calendar

Navigating Life's Milestones with the Javanese Calendar

The Indonesian society uses calendars same with rest of the world: track time, schedule activities, and mark important national, international, and religious events. Formally, the Gregorian calendar is employed for academic and professional purposes. Additionally, the Islamic calendar is widely utilized by the Muslim community and the Indonesian government to determine and observe significant Islamic holidays, given the majority of Indonesia's population adheres to Islam. Outside of these calendars, the Chinese calendar is also frequently featured in Indonesian calendars, displaying the Chinese zodiac and its elements. This calendar is closely associated with Chinese astrology and geomancy, known as feng shui.

However, Indonesia possesses several native calendars due to its civilization being influenced by various major world cultures. The Javanese people have their own traditional Javanese calendar (ꦥꦤꦁꦒꦭ꧀ꦭꦤ꧀ꦗꦮ), known in Latin as Anno Javanico or AJ. This calendar is used not only by the Javanese but also by the Sundanese and Madurese due to the influence of Javanese culture, particularly during the era of the Mataram Sultanate. The current Javanese calendar system was officially established by Sultan Agung of Mataram in the Gregorian year 1633 CE. Prior to this period, the Javanese relied on the Śaka calendar, which began in 78 CE and used a lunisolar system for time calculation. Sultan Agung's calendar retained the Saka calendar's year-counting system but introduced a change in measuring time by adopting the lunar year system similar to that of the Islamic calendar, instead of the solar year. This calendar holds significance as it combines aspects of the Islamic, Hindu, and Western Julian calendar systems, representing a blend of Eastern and Western cultural elements.

The Javanese calendar comprises various interconnected time measurements organized in cycles. These cycles include the original five-day week called "Pasaran (ꦥꦱꦫꦤ꧀)," the familiar seven-day week known in the Gregorian and Islamic calendars, the "Mangsa (ꦩꦁꦱ)" representing the solar month, the "Wulan (ꦮꦸꦭꦤ꧀)" representing the lunar month, the "Tahun (ꦠꦲꦸꦤ꧀)" representing the lunar year, the "Windu (ꦮꦶꦤ꧀ꦢꦸ)" consisting of cycles of eight years each, and the "Kurup (ꦏꦸꦫꦸꦥ꧀)," a 120-year cycle comprising 15 Windu periods. In the post-Sultan Agung Javanese calendar, the common practice is to use the months adapted from the Islamic calendar, as mentioned below:

Javanese names Islamic names Length of days
Sura (ꦱꦸꦫ) Muharram (المحرم) 30
Sapar (ꦱꦥꦂ) Safar (صفر) 29
Mulud (ꦩꦸꦭꦸꦢ꧀)
Rabingulawal (ꦫꦧꦶꦔꦸꦭꦮꦭ꧀)
Rabi' al-Awwal (ربيع الأول) 30
Bakda Mulud (ꦧꦏ꧀ꦢꦩꦸꦭꦸꦢ꧀)
Rabingulakir (ꦫꦧꦶꦔꦸꦭꦏꦶꦂ)
Rabi' al-Thani (ربيع الثاني) 29
Jumadilawal (ꦗꦸꦩꦢꦶꦭꦮꦭ꧀) Jumada al-Awwal (جمادى الأولى) 30
Jumadilakir (ꦗꦸꦩꦢꦶꦭꦏꦶꦂ) Jumada al-Thani (جمادى الثاني) 29
Rejeb (ꦉꦗꦼꦧ꧀) Rajab (رجب) 30
Ruwah (ꦫꦸꦮꦃ)
Arwah (ꦲꦂꦮꦃ)
Sha'ban (شعبان) 29
Pasa (ꦥꦱ)
Ramelan (ꦱꦶꦪꦩ꧀)
Siyam (ꦱꦶꦪꦩ꧀)
Ramadan (رمضان) 30
Sawal (ꦱꦮꦭ꧀) Shawwal (شوال) 29
Sela (ꦱꦼꦭ)
Dulkangidah (ꦢꦸꦭ꧀ꦏꦔꦶꦢꦃ)
Apit (ꦲꦥꦶꦠ꧀)
Dhu al-Qadah (ذو القعدة) 30
Besar (ꦧꦼꦱꦂ)
Kaji (ꦏꦗꦶ)
Dhu al-Hijjah (ذو الحجة) 29 or 30

The Javanese calendar serves as a marker for cultural and spiritual events for the Javanese community and those who adopt it. The successors of the Mataram Sultanate, such as the Yogyakarta Sultanate, Surakarta Sunanate, Mangkunegaran, and Pakualaman, continue to use this calendar for official royal and cultural affairs. The general population also frequently relies on this calendar to determine "wetonan (ꦮꦼꦠꦺꦴꦤꦤ꧀)," the astrological interpretation based on the combination of Pasaran and the week an individual was born, which is used to select auspicious days for weddings, births, and even finding suitable life partners. In contemporary times, the Javanese calendar is often displayed alongside the Gregorian and Islamic calendars in Indonesia.

In wetonan, the auspicious day of a marriage or the birth of a baby can be calculated and determined ©️Instagram/Andhika Pratama

Today, the Javanese calendar continues to thrive, embraced by both the Javanese community and those who recognize its value in guiding various aspects of life. It stands as a testament to Indonesia's rich cultural heritage and its ability to harmoniously embrace diverse calendrical traditions from around the world.


  • Raffles, Thomas Stamford. The History of Java. 1817,
  • Ricklefs, M. C. A History of Modern Indonesia Since C. 1300. 1993,


Rafa Sukoco

An Indonesian, born into a multiethnic family, with a passion for traveling, culinary experiences, and delving into history and religion. Enjoying life through listening and sharing stories.
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