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Posted by Carlos on July 20, 2020
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Even though the Gregorian calendar is commonly used by most parts of the world, the Balinese also follows its own calendar. When a
child is born the parents will also note the date on the Balinese calendar and celebrate the birth based on the panca wara, sapta wara, and wuku. The birth celebration is called Otonan and in most places, the first Otonan will be done 210 days after the baby was born. The ceremony is usually done in the house, however, the first Otonan usually made to be more special and festive. Otonan word comes from old Java language that was absorbed to the Balinese language, wetu. It means born, (to be) out, or becoming. This word later becomes “oton” and evolved along the time to “otonan”.

The first celebration will invite pemangku, the Balinese priests, along with other family members. Pemangku will lead the prayer
for the whole otonan. The prayer is not only for cleansing parents and the baby’s but also praying to their ancestor, since Balinese people believe in reincarnation among their kin. Cutting hair ritual (mepetik) is done as a symbol of cleansing for the newborn from misfortunes on the first ceremony. When the otonan concurs with other important dates, like Purnama (full moon) or Galungan, or Kuningan, it will be celebrated with more festivity. Balinese people put importance on otonan and always celebrates the occasion even when the person grows old to show their gratitude to the blessing of God. The offerings for Otonan do not have to be luxurious, and usually different based on the custom in one place.

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