Naming System in Bali PDF Print E-mail

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In Bali your name is very important for the development of your character. At birth a personal name is decided upon for the baby, but many people may not know what the name of someone else is because he or she is more likely to be called by some nickname while growing up, or by his or her birth order name or caste name. The most common birth order naming system is that of the 'Wayan - Made - Nyoman - Ketut' cycle. If the family has more than four children, then the cycle begins again, with a different personal name.


There are, however, other names to indicate order of birth. The first born could be called Putu or Gede, the second Nengah or Kadek, and the third Komang or Koming. Also, a name is given according to a person's caste. In the Hindu-Bali system there are four castes;

1.  Brahmana - priestly caste. Names are prefixed by 'Ida Bagus' for males and 'Ida Ayu' for females.

2.  Ksatria - warrior or ruling caste. Names are prefixed by 'Tjokorde' for males or 'Tjokorde Istri' for females. Also, 'Anak Agung' indicates a person is of this caste.

 3.   Wesia - blacksmith or tradesperson caste. Names are prefixed by 'Gusti', or by 'Dewa' (male) or 'Desak' (female).

4.   Sudra - the rest - about 95% of all Balinese. As well as using the birth order name indicated above, the name is prefixed with 'I' for males or 'Ni' for females.