Weird and disturbing century-old traditions are still followed in Indonesia. Death for most cultures and individuals results in grave mourning. However, the occasion of death is considered as a celebration for the people of Tana Toraja. These rituals are the most important and complex practices followed by the Torajans.
Rambu Solo: The Farewell Ceremony
Rambu Solo is not your usual funeral procession. The ceremony consists of two processions: Funeral procession (rante) and Art Show. In the Funeral procession, the process of wrapping corpses along with decorating the coffin are shown. After, the wrapped corpse is carried to the barn until it is ready to be buried. Around 24-100 buffaloes are sacrificed in the art show.
Torajans who believe in the afterlife maintain a link between the living and dead through ‘Tau-Tau’. Tau-Tau is a statue made from wood or bamboo which stands for the deceased. It is often found near the deceased’s grave. The Torajans are certain that the spirits of the dead live through the dolls. The dead also guards their tombs as well as their loved ones.
Ma’nene: Bringing back the Dead
The Torajans literally bring back the dead from their graves. The ritual of Ma’nene is done out of respect for the dead. Every three years, the corpses of loved ones are taken out. They are washed, cleaned, and dressed in finery. After this, the family poses with the person and returns them to their grave.
Passiliran: Burying dead babies in tree holes
It is believed by the Torajans that babies under six months are sacred. However, if a baby dies before reaching the age of six months, the body is wrapped with ‘Enau’ leaves. After this, it is buried inside the hole of a ‘Tarra’ tree. Symbolizing the safe return of the baby back in the mother’s womb. Baby cemeteries are found in certain areas but this practice is fading slowly.
Read on to learn more about some of the seriously fascinating cultural practices across Indonesia here .
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