The island of Bali in Indonesia is home to more than four million people and a very simple baby name tradition mainly associated with families of the Sudra caste, Bali’s lowest and largest (93% of the population).
These families name their children according to birth order. Regardless of gender, the first-born child is named Wayan [why-ann], the second-born is named Made [mah-day], the third-born is named Nyoman, and the fourth-born is named Ketut.
And what if there are more than four children? The pattern is repeated: Wayan, Made, Nyoman, and Ketut. Though the second set may be named Wayan Balik, Made Balik, Nyoman Balik, and Ketut Balik — the word balik meaning “again.”
The first three names are derived from terms that refer to the oldest, middle, and last child in a family. This reflects a traditional belief that Balinese families should include no more than three children. Ketut, in contrast, comes from the term kitut, which means “little banana on the outer edge of a bunch of bananas” (adorably).
Though some families do use alternative forms of the names — such as “Putu” for Wayan, “Kadek” for Made, and “Komang” for Nyoman — most stick with Wayan, Made, Nyoman, and Ketut.
So how long will Bali’s birth-order names be around? They’re very common on the island right now, but The Bali Times noted in 2013 that “many modern families name their children as they wish,” so they may not be as common in future generations.