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, everyone seems to have the same first name. You pass three Nyoman and five Wayan in a day. Weird.
It sounds like a joke to the tourists... but it's not! The Balinese actually have their own system for children's names.
The elder and the following
There is no difference between a boy and a girl, the name you receive simply corresponds to 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 following ones, if there are any, we start from the beginning with Wayan, etc.
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.
Prefixes are used to distinguish between the sexes: I for boys and I for girls. There are also a whole host of ceremonial titles for high-caste families.
During my last stay in Bali, this summer, I took the plunge. I made up a first name in the Balinese style, in relation to my status of elder, to make my interlocutors smile. When the inevitable happens "what's your name?"I gibberish proudly in Indonesian: "Nama saya Wayan-Corinne." Success guaranteed!