In the southern part of Indonesia, the mountainous region is home to an indigenous group called the Toraja. And it seems that their lives revolve around death - which is evident in their funeral rituals that are designed to pay homage to their beloved ancestors.
Upon a death, Torajans hold a series of intricate ceremonies that make up the entire funeral. At first, the dead bodies are stored in the same place as their family. Until they are buried, they are taken care of by their family as if they were only sleeping or suffering an illness.
Animal sacrifices are prepared and distributed, a part of which constitutes a spiritual meal for the deceased. After 11 days, the bodies are placed in their final resting place in a cave or upon a hill – which means they are not really buried.
Every three years, another ritual called “Ma'nene” happens during August. It literally translates into “The Ceremony of Cleaning Corpses.” The deceased bodies are washed, groomed and are then moved across the village in straight lines in order to retrace their last steps. This act signifies the Torajan’s belief in the Hyang, a deity that moves in straight lines.
So basically it is believed that in moving the dead bodies on the same path, the soul will be in line with the deity.
Funerals within this culture are given a significant amount of thought and time simply for the sake of honoring loved ones. At times, the preparation for it has been stretched out over months and can end up taking a financial toll on families with many deceased relatives.
Thumbnail Credits : Reuters