Unique Funeral Traditions in Tana Toraja Indonesia

Tana Toraja which is located in South Sulawesi Province is indeed famous as one of the most popular tourist attractions in Indonesia. You can enjoy a variety of distinctive cultures of the Toraja tribe who inhabit mountainous regions with typical Austronesian cultures.

The Toraja people adhere to strict traditional customs, rules, and rituals determined by their ancestors. Although the majority of Toraja people today embrace many Protestant or Catholic religions, ancestral traditions and ritual ceremonies typical of Tana Toraja they continue to practice.

If you plan to visit Tana Toraja, you can try their unique and different culture. Starting from the Tongkonan traditional house, the funeral ceremony of Rambu Solo, Londa Cave Cemetery, Batu Lemo Cemetery, or Kambira Baby Cemetery.

Famous for its unique burial rituals and different from funerals in general, this funeral ritual is called Rambu Solo. What is the unique funeral ritual typical of Toraja? C'mon, consider the following summary.
Unique Funeral Traditions in Tana Toraja Indonesia
Credits: Wprl.org

1. Signs solo, the funeral traditions of Toraja from then until now

Tana Toraja is known for two popular types of traditional ceremonies namely Rambu Solo and Rambu Tuka. Rambu Solo is a funeral service, Rambu Tuku is a ceremony for a newly renovated traditional house.

The funeral effort of Rambu Solo is said to be a series of activities for the release of people who have died at a significant cost.

The preparations for this ceremony have been planned for months, in fact, they have had to save funeral expenses for months.

While waiting for the funeral to be ready, the body of the deceased is wrapped in cloth and kept in the ancestral house or the tongkonan traditional house.

People who die are only considered macular or interpreted as sick people who still need to be treated and treated like they are still alive.

In funeral arrangements, for the nobility who died, they would normally cut a buffalo in the amount of 24 to 100 heads as sacrifices (Ma'tinggoro Tedong).

The cutting ceremony is one of the special attractions of Tana Toraja by cutting the buffalo's neck using a machete in one swing.

Unique Funeral Traditions in Tana Toraja Indonesia
Credits: Wprl.org
2. Alfrida Lantong still treated like a living person until now
Alfrida Lantong is evidence from one of the Toraja people who has not yet gone through the funeral ceremony of data Toraja. Alfrida is believed to be in his 90s. Although Alfrida's heart has not been beating since 2012, several families still think Alfrida is like a sick person.

Lying on your back and staring at a pair of thick and dusty glasses, Alfrida was placed in a chest on the Tongkonan. Even though it was dusty, the family still visited him regularly, talked to him, and brought three times a day what Alfrida needed.

Reporting from WPLR, Mesak, Alfrida's family said that they would miss Alfrida if their bodies were not placed in Tongkonan. Meska also added, "He looks after us all our lives, so now we need to take care of him too."

Although Alfrida has been declared dead for seven years, the funeral preparations are still incomplete. Because in Toraja culture, burial can be very expensive so that the next generation will be burdened with debt to complete the funeral.

Credits: Wprl.org

3. A wooden statue with the face of a deceased person to decorate his grave
Although having to pay a lot of money in conducting funeral rites, death turned out to provide a livelihood for many people in Tana Toraja.

Both in the tourism sector which will attract many tourists to watch the funeral, farmworkers who care for buffalo for sacrifice, and craftsmen who will make wooden statues with the faces of people who have died to decorate their graves.

As reported by WPLR, for Jeffrey Maguling, a young woodcarver whose family has been in the business for four generations, the statues are an art form as well as a source of income for them.

"I didn't just copy a photo of a dead person, I tried to capture that person's character. It took about 10 days to make it," Maguling said. In making the statue, he could sell it for around 15 million rupiahs, or $ 1,100.

Not because Torajans do not mourn their loved ones, this process is considered one of the traditions that never ends from one world to another in Toraja cosmology.

After the funeral, the deceased did not really leave. The statues will continue to stand tense over the cliffs of their burial places and will continue to observe the bustling land of the people who still live down there.

That is a unique tradition in the funeral process of the Toraja people. Hopefully, it can be a lesson that Indonesia has a diverse culture from various sides, even though death.
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