Balinese believe that naming a child can affect a child’s life. On the baby’s 12th day, the extended hold a special name-giving ceremony called ngerorasin (originating from the word ‘roras’ meaning ‘twelve’ in Balinese). They consider several factors, including the child’s sex, caste, clan, birth order and the parents’ choice. The most common birth order naming system is 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:
- Brahmana – priestly caste. Names are prefixed by ‘Ida Bagus’ for males and ‘Ida Ayu‘ for females.
- Ksatria – warrior, noble, king or ruling caste. Names are prefixed by ‘Tjokorda‘ for males or ‘Tjokorda Istri‘ for females. Also, ‘Anak Agung’ indicates a person is of this caste.
- Wesia – blacksmith, farmer, or tradesperson caste. Names are prefixed by ‘Gusti’, or by ‘Dewa‘ (male) or ‘Desak’ (female).
- Sudra – servant, or labour caste – 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.