Tana Toraja, Way of the Ancestors.


by Marji Lang

The land of Toraja people, Christian but most in practice Animist, is above all famous for spectacular burial rites. After a person's death, the body is kept - often for years - while money is saved to pay for the actual funeral ceremony. During the festival, which may last up to a week, ritual dances and buffalo fights are held, and buffaloes are slaughtered to ferry the soul of the deceased to the afterlife. The deceased is then finally buried either in a small cave, often with a tau-tau effigy placed in front.

Tana Toraja has unique culture set in stunning scenery. Globalisation and tourism may have impact, but if you venture away from the tarmac roads you will find soon a way of life that has not changed much in the last 100 years.

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