Tana Toraja funeral rites
Project info

For the Toraja, a funeral is the most important ceremony of their lives in which the whole family and neighbours of the village take part to say goobye to the deceased. Since it is a very expensive rite, sometimes the ceremony is not held until the family has raised enough money to pay for it, and that can be even years after the deceased has died. Until that time, the Torajans keep the body embalmed in a special building under the same roof as the family.

When the time has come and the money raised, a series of rites take place to end with the burial of the body. One of the most important thing is the slaughter of as many water buffalos as the family can afford – the more buffalos are kill, the higher will be the status of the dead. With the pass of time the rites have changed to accomodate the new religions of the Torajans, but the core of the ceremony stays the same. The final stage is to carry the catafalque in a crazy parade in which the people at the front fights against the people at the back all the way to the burial place.