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Home » Tana Toraja » Toraja's Elaborate Funeral Ceremonies

Toraja's Elaborate Funeral Ceremonies

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  1. Londa

    Londa : cara masyarakat Tana Toraja (khususnya kaum bangsawan) dalam menguburkan kerabatnya
  2. Londa

    Londa : cara masyarakat Tana Toraja (khususnya kaum bangsawan) dalam menguburkan kerabatnya
  3. Londa

    Londa : cara masyarakat Tana Toraja (khususnya kaum bangsawan) dalam menguburkan kerabatnya
  4. Londa

    Londa : cara masyarakat Tana Toraja (khususnya kaum bangsawan) dalam menguburkan kerabatnya
  5. Londa

    Londa : cara masyarakat Tana Toraja (khususnya kaum bangsawan) dalam menguburkan kerabatnya
  6. Tongkonan

  7. Tongkonan

  8. Tongkonan

  9. Pasar Bolu&Pasar Makale

  10. Pasar Bolu&Pasar Makale

  11. Pasar Bolu&Pasar Makale

  12. Pasar Bolu&Pasar Makale



When approximate amounts of funds have been pledged by members of the family of the deceased Don or patriarch to ascertain that a funeral ceremony can be held, a meeting is gathered in the village attended by all family members, traditional aluk leaders and village heads to discuss details of the funeral ceremony, funds required, the minimum number of buffaloes to be slaughtered, -  for guests may run into the thousands, - and most importantly, the actual date of the funeral.

All know that funerals may take place only after the harvest and before the first sowing of the rice seeds, which normally falls between July and September.     

Toraja Funeral Ceremonies are not only sad events, but are occasions for entire families to gather from around the globe, and for villagers to participate in communal events, renewing relationships and reconfirming beliefs and traditions in the way of the ancestors.  
In preparation of the Funeral Ceremony, villagers and family members build a tower on the designated ceremonial site where the meat of slaughtered cattle will be distributed during the event. In the centre of the ground is planted a stake where the sacrificial buffalo will be tied to and stabbed. Around the large site are built temporary shelters forming balconies where people can watch proceedings below.

The next day the coffin of the deceased is moved down from the Tongkonan to the floor of the rice barn where decorations are made around the bier.

Before the actual public ceremony begins, a priest or pastor will hold a Catholic mass or Protestant service for the family.  
Then the public funeral starts. The day before, guests from all over Toraja, and relatives and descendents of the deceased arrive from many parts of Indonesia or even from overseas, to gather and attend this most important ceremony.

The first official day is dedicated to the seemingly endless formal procession called Ma’passa Tedong where persons, families, groups, bring with them their gifts and contributions ranging from water buffaloes to pigs, rice or alcoholic drinks. All gifts are meticulously registered and announced while donors will show off their gifts by walking around the ceremonial area. Everyone watches who gives what, so that the occasion is not only to confirm one’s status and wealth in society, but also to express former debts repaid, or even new ones made.  In the evening, the coffin is brought by hundreds of people to the ceremonial site - called Rante and placed on the high house. After the procession, start the exciting and rowdy buffalo fights, where a lot of betting goes on.  

The next day the committee tallies all gifts, and the family then decides how many buffaloes and pigs will be slaughtered and distributed to guests, and how many given to charity to neighbouring poor villages. Most expensive are the prized pied buffaloes.

The following day comes the actual slaughtering of the cattle for their meat to be distributed for meals to the thousands  attending the ceremony that lasts for over  a week. The slaughter of the sacrificial buffalo is done in public. This happens very fast and sure, where the buffalo is stabbed directly into its heart and collapses immediately. The buffalo is then hacked and its meat distributed from here, where each part is allocated to a specified person or group whose name is called out, with prime cuts given to the most important in status.

Foreigners and tourists may also be given a cut, which gives this ceremony a universal status drawing prestigious people from afar.
Finally on the actual day of burial, called :  Ma’Kaburu’  will  the coffin be carried in ceremonial procession by the thousands of villagers to the grave site passing green rice fields to its last resting place in  the caves or the crypts high up in the rock faces of the hanging graves.  (Source:” Periplus: Sulawesi, The Celebes” and other information)

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Toraja's Elaborate Funeral Ceremonies

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