The Balinese have not one but two calendars running simultaneously, and although the systems are so complicated they can baffle even the locals at times, nonetheless the calendars have enormous religious significance, and must be regularly consulted.

The Sasih system relies upon the cycles of the moon. It operates on a 12-month schedule, with each new month beginning of the first day of the new moon, and the all-important full moon occurring in the middle of the month. Most Balinese festivals, temple anniversaries and ceremonies are held at the time of the full moon; the day of the new moon is also significant.

The other system, known as Pawukon, comprises 210 days in a year with weeks of varying lengths, and is said to have originated from the rice-growing cycles, though others argue it came from Java. This calendar provides guidance on whether a particular day is auspicious in regard to certain activities. Ceremonies and sacred dances are performed on specific days on the Pawukon calendar; other days call for immersion in prayers and meditation.

To add to the mix, the Gregorian calendar, used widely across the world, is also referred to. The Indonesian Government abides by its rules, as do most businesses: government offices, banks and many shops, for example, are closed on Sundays. The major Hindu, Islamic, Buddhist and Christian occasions are all acknowledged.