Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 20.djvu/843

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821
THE JAVANESE CALENDAR.

ese agriculturist goes to this day by his own calendar, which is based upon the position of Orion and the Pleiades, and the length of the shadow at noon. The geographical situation of Java is such (mean latitude 7° south), that the sun stands at 301/2° north of the zenith on the 21st of June, and at 161/2° south of it on the 21st of December. The shadow, on the 21st of June, falling in a southerly direction, is nearly double the length of the shadow on the 31st of December, which falls in a northerly direction. The shadow requires six months to pass from its greatest length toward the south to its greatest length toward the north, and a year to return to the same position.

If the length of the shadow on the 21st of June is divided into four equal parts, and the length on the 21st of December into two equal parts, we shall have six equal measures of length corresponding with six unequal intervals of time; these intervals may then be distinguished according to the length of the shadow. The Javanese avail themselves of this peculiarity of shadows in their country to adjust the division of their solar year, the first day of which corresponds with the 21st of June of the Gregorian reckoning. They divide the year into twelve unequal months (mangsa), which are respectively 41, 23, 24, 25, 27, 43, 43, 26, 25, 24, 23, and 24 days long. Independently of this division, the farmer plants his rice and other crops according to the height of Orion and the Pleiades above the horizon. This height is taken either at night-fall, half an hour after sunset, or in the morning, half an hour before sunrise. The following are the names of the calendar months, and the most important observations and farmers' rules that are connected with them:

First month (Kasa), forty-one days, from the 21st of June to the 31st of July inclusive. Orion and the Pleiades are visible in the east, respectively 25° and 45° above the horizon. The sun turns back toward the south; a man's shadow at noon reaches four feet south. The fresh-water fish iwak bettik has one spot on its head. It is time to plant the second crop of rice.

Second month (Kara), twenty-three days long, from the 1st to the 23d of August. The Pleiades are in the zenith, Orion 70° above the eastern horizon. The iwak bettik has two spots. The sun goes farther toward the south. A man's shadow at noon measures two feet south.

Third month (Ketiga), twenty-four days, from the 24th of August to the 16th of September. Before sunrise the Pleiades are 70° above the western horizon, Orion in the zenith. The leaves begin to fall from the trees. The iwak bettik has three spots. The course of the sun continues to be in the north, and the noonday shadow measures one foot south. The second crop of rice begins to ripen.

Fourth month (Kapat), twenty-five days, from the 17th of September to the 11th of October. Before sunrise the Pleiades are 50° and Orion 70° above the western horizon. The glattiks, or rice-birds, fall upon the fields in multitudes in search of food. The fruit-trees