When you think of Bali you immediately think of a tropical island with beautiful beaches and crystal waters. [Interesting fact: Bali is made of three islands which forms part of the greater Indonesia with 18110 islands and islets] Apart from its natural beauty, I think one of the most attractive things about Bali is their simple approach to life. Something that maybe stems from the fact that 85% of the population is Hindu and lives by the philosophy of Tri Hita Karana, the three causes of well-being: harmony with God, Nature and Community. Thanks to this belief they also believe that babies are so close to the spiritual realm, that they should touch the ground for the first 105 days of their lives. It is after this time that the soul officially bonds with the body and the infant is given a name.
Now you would think that after this meaningful beginning that names would be special, but again the Balinese don’t complicate things. Children have 4 names, with a few variables, and are named in accordance with the order in which they are born: The 1st born is Wayan or Putu or Luh (girl) or Gede (boy). The 2nd born is Made or Kadek or Nengah. The 3rd born is Nyoman or Komang or Koming (girls) and the 4th born is Ketut with no variables. If a family has more than four children, the cycle repeats itself, and the next ‘Wayan’ may be called Wayan Balik which loosely translates to “another Wayan”. Then when one grows up women are given the title of “Ni” and men “I” so, women are Ni Wayan or men I Wayan. As you can imagine this simplistic approach to naming the children does give rise to some creative and fun nicknames at school! Simply Beautiful!