Ceremony on the beach of Lovina, Bali. (Indonesia, July 2008)
Ceremony on the beach of Lovina, Bali. (Indonesia, July 2008)

Wayan, Made, Nyoman and Ketut

  Indonesia: Bali - July 2008

Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation made from a post originally written in French. My apologies for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have been generated during the process. If you are reading French, click on the French flag below to access the original and correct text: 

In Bali, all people seem to have the same name. You cross three Nyoman and five Wayan during the day. Bizarre.

It sounds like a joke made to tourists ... But not at all! The Balinese actually have a system of their own for the first names of the children.

The eldest and the following

Ceremony on the beach of Lovina, Bali. (Indonesia, July 2008)
How many Wayan, Made, Nyoman and Ketut at this Balinese ceremony? (Indonesia, July 2008)

No difference between girl or boy, the name we receive is simply the order of arrival in the family!

The eldest will be called Wayan, the second Made, the third Nyoman and the last Ketut. For the fifth and the following, if there are, we start from the beginning with Wayan, and so on.

As a result, everyone there is called Wayan, Made, Nyoman or Ketut! With small variations according to the castes: Wayan can also be replaced by Putu and Gede, Made by Kadek and Nengah, Nyoman by Komang. Some also have diminutives and nicknames, sometimes forged from the family name, to distinguish themselves.

On the beach of Pemuteran, little girls play after their traditional dance class. (Bali, Indonesia, July 2008)
On the beach of Pemuteran, little girls play after their traditional dance class. (Bali, Indonesia, July 2008)

Prefixes make it possible to distinguish between the sexes: I for boys, and for girls. There is also a slew of ceremonial titles for high caste families.

During my last stay in Bali, this summer, I took the fold. I forged a name composed in the Balinese style, in relation to my senior status, to make my interlocutors smile. When the inevitable «What's your name? ", I stumble proudly in Indonesian: "Nama saya Wayan-Corinne. " Success guaranteed!


  Indonesia: Bali - July 2008

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  1. It's quite surprising, but good when the driver of your minibus is called Made, as the captain of the jukung and the guide to the temple, we begin to ask questions ...
    I have another anecdote about names in Bali. In the streets we often see signs and plates with the inscription "Dokter Gigi". We found it weird that all the doctors are called "Gigi", but when we know about the names, we say why not.
    Only when asked for toothpicks in a restaurant and on the cover there was marked "Tusuk Gigi", it was understood that "Dokter Gigi" meant dentist ... 8)

  2. Hello Wayan-Thib!

    During my stay in Bali, I realized that many visitors were totally unaware of this particular system for Balinese names.

    Myself, during my first trips to Bali, a few years ago, I was very surprised: in one day, all the guys who had introduced themselves to me said they were called Wayan or Nyoman !!! Initially, a bit stupid, I even imagined that it meant something like "I am your man" ... in the sense: "at your service".

    Since then, I have been explained the thing. But as Alimata said, it surprises at first!


  3. Intéressant! merci pour le partage; Bali fait partie de mes destinations à faire dans les 5 prochaines années. C’est bon à savoir 😉 C’est vrai que pour quelqu’un qui ne le sait pas, ça peut ressembler à une blague…

  4. In the center there are 3 Wayan, 2 Made, 2 Komang, 2 Ketut and a Nyoman ...
    Kadek, Agus, Putu and others are also Balinese names even though they are less common. They are either used for different castes or simply for taste.
    Every Balinese also has a name known only to relatives. It is determined in the third month of the child according to its character. There is of course a special ceremony on this occasion!
    By Cedric Saveuse