Asia  | 12/08/2014

TANA TORAJA Funeral Rituals

For centuries, the highlands of Sulawesi, the orchid-shaped island of Indonesia, is home to the Toraja, an ethnic group whose life revolves around death.


In Toraja civilization, relatives of the deceased arrange a funeral which marks the dead's return to the heart of their ancestors. For them, it is very important that the ceremony be successful because if he or she is satisfied shall ensure, protection and good luck to the family.

The ceremony takes several days and once completed, the coffin will be introduced in a sacred rock along with their ancestors. Until that time, the family must build almost a city to house guests from different corners of the country, sacrifice few water buffaloes and attend these guests in a unique ritual in the world.

According to tradition relatives have to spend at least three months from the decedent's death to celebrate the funeral. During this time, the body remains at home preserved by injecting a special herbs and flowers concoction. Sometimes they keep it over some years until the family gets the money for the burial.

There need to sacrifice many buffaloes to be respected and live happily in paradise. The dead’s souls can only go up to puja, the sky, when the death ritual is completed. Trip to puja requires a strong animal because it is a difficult journey where you have to cross mountains and valleys.

The coffin is carried in its last trip through the rice fields, to their new home, a hole in the sacred rock, while the spirit of the dead rest happy, and the family has strengthened its honour, close ties and demonstrated their wealth and generosity. 



El Elefante de SUDAFRICA

Agosto 2017

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