The Ibalois have no written calendar, but they rely on their little knowledge of astronomy, the position of the sun and that of the moon to count or mark the passing of time. They have no names for their days and months, nor do the have any way of reckoning the years.
The time of the day is determined by the crowing of the rooster. Normally, the rooster crows about three o'clock in the morning until the break of day, at eleven o'clock which signals the approach of the evening. The length of the day or night is also determined by the rooster's crows. If the rooster crows at four o'clock in the afternoon and the sun is still shining, it means a longer day. If at four o'clock the sun has already sunk, it means a shorter day and a longer night.
The length of the day is also determined by the path of the sun. If the sun passes straight towards the west, the day is long, If it moves some degrees southwesterly, the day is short.
The Ibalois have a "natural" barometer. It is the leaf of a plant called in Nabaloi liyas. If a horizontal whitish mark appears at the middle of the width of the elongated liyas leaf, the day will be long. If the mark appears at the tip or tapered portion of the leaf's width, the day will be short. If two parallel marks cross the middle transversally, a strong typhoon is forthcoming.
The Ibalois believe that the longer days signal the coming of the bakakew, a bird whose sound means a lot to them. Once the hear the sound of the bakakew, the start to plant, build or renovate their houses, and hold their wedding rites. These long days are considered to be days of good luck and prosperity. But they consider also the moon. If at this time the moon is small, they suspend planting, building, and wedding rites and wait for the full moon, which to them is a sign of success and progress. The quarter or half moon symbolizes hardships and difficulties.
Although the Ibalois have no names for the months they have names for what corresponds to certain Gregorian months.
|September||- Budan ni yadyaran
- (month of yadyaran birds)
|October||- Budan ni alashing
- (month of the alashing birds)
|December||- budan ni kil-ling
- (month of the kil-ling birds)
|January||- budan ni lagadan
- (month of lagadan birds)
|February||- budan ni kungay
- (month of kungay birds)
|March||- budan ni ugew
- (month of ugew birds)
|July||- budan ni bakakew
- (month of the bakakew birds)
The Ibalois have another way of identifying the months of seasons. January is called tigui because of the appearance of the tigui bird. This belongs to the hawk family and preys on chicks and other slow-moving birds. Its appearance signals the end of rainfall and the coming of the tiagew, which in ibaloi means no rain, or dry season.
January, February, and March are called tiagew and this is the time when leaves of plants dry up and fall (dry season). February alone is called tiagew. March is still called tiagew, but this is the time for the buh-kas, that is, the time for planting camote. April marks the end of the falling leaves from trees. The Ibalois call it "mah-gas e bunga ni kayew". Because in this month the rain falls for the first time, it is also called "pinsak ni uran". With the coming of the rains, tadpoles appear in the creeks and rivers, so that the month is also called "pan-ukukan ni bayyek".
May is otherwise called behkas, or the start of the rainy days, which marks the coming of typhoons. June is "budan ni yadyaran", yadyaran means a small bird with long tail. The yadyaran are abundant until the middle of July when the kil-ling bird makes its appearance. August is the month of the kil-ling, a small red-necked bird that makes a shrill sound. September is the month of the alashing, a blackish gray bird that belongs to the oriole family.
October is associated with the ishib, a small bird that usually stays on the ground. November is the month of the alshas, a bird of light brown color that belongs to the oriole family and feeds on insects. December is marked with the coming of the lagadan, a big bird similar to a half-grown chicken, of brown and black color. Together with the lagadan is the coming also of the bakkew.