Friday, 18 November 2011

Tana Toraja cultural richness: The unique funerals

One of the cultural heritage owned by Indonesia and very famous is up to Tana Toraja. Tana Toraja, is 300 kilometers from Makassar, South Sulawesi, store various customs and culture who passed down by their ancestors and remain stable until now. Toraja tribe famous for funeral rituals, traditional house tongkonan and carving wood. Cultural heritage that very popular abroad is called Rambu Solo. Rambu Solo 'at first glance is like a big party. In fact, a funeral procession or ritual death and burial ceremonies. In Tana Toraja peoples, families left behind must hold a feast as a sign of their last respects to the deceased. The person who died regarded as a sick man and should be cared for and treated like the living, such as accompanied him, providing food and beverages, and tobacco or betel nut.


Toraja tribe believes that death is not something that comes with suddenly but a gradual process toward Puya (the spirit world, or the afterlife). In that waiting period, the corpse is wrapped with a few pieces of cloth and kept under tongkonan. Spirits of the dead believed to remain in the village until the funeral is completed. Hence, not infrequently remains stored for years in Tongkonan (Toraja traditional house) until finally the family of the deceased can prepare the sacrificial animals. But for adherents of Christianity and Islam now, the corpse can be buried in the ground first, then dug up again after the family is ready to perform this ceremony.



Rambu Solo 'is a very festive event tradition in Tana Toraja, because it takes few days to celebrate. Usually takes 2-3 days. Even up to two weeks for the nobility. As for the place of burial was made at the top of the cliff at the height of the rock. According to the beliefs Aluk To Dolo (Tana Toraja people's confidence first),The higher for the corpse is placed, then the sooner his soul to nirvana.

Rambu Solo will be more lively if the deceased was a descendant of the king or the rich. The number of buffaloes and pigs are slaughtered to measure the level of wealth and their degree while still alive. For the royal family, the number of buffalo may range from 24 to 100 buffaloes. While the middle class citizens are required to kill eight buffaloes coupled with 50 pigs, and about 3 days long ceremony. But, before the number was insufficient, the body should not be buried in the cliffs or in high places.




The whole procession ceremony Rambu Solo 'is always conducted in the afternoon. The body was carried using the Duba-Duba (typical Toraja casket). In front of Duba-Duba-contained Lamba Lamba (length of red cloth, usually located in front of the coffin corpse, and the accompaniment procession , the cloth was withdrawn by the women in the family). The body will be buried off while in rante (special field where the procession takes place), then there already stood out of Tongkonan (temporary houses made of bamboo and wood). Once the bodies arrived, bodies were laid on top lakkien (waiting tower, where the bodies laid during the procession takes place) before eventually being buried. The next event is the reception area, the relatives family who came from across the country. In the afternoon after the procession reception is completed, followed by entertainment for the family and invited guests who came, by showing ma'pasilaga tedong (buffalo race). The most interesting is when the last stage of the ceremony of Rambu Solo, where the bodies were taken to a special bank for the funeral. The tomb is usually expensive and time of manufacture about a few months.



Lemo, burial site is one of the most popular in the area, with a corresponding hole carved coffins and balcony for "tau tau" (a carved wooden sculpture like the people who are buried). Ancient times, statues only show the gender of the deceased, but now sculptor trying to make them look like actual people. Once the body has been placed in a tomb stone, wood sculptures are usually placed in the cave and facing outward, in a carved balcony, with the goal for his spirit to keeping the offspring .

Rambu Solo reflect the life of Tana Toraja people who like mutual help, mutual assistance, familial, have social strata, and respect for parents. Each tribe of Toraja, wherever located, must uphold the cultural roots of their ancestors. Until now, the children and grandchildren of Tana Toraja tribe residing outside the country and various regions in Indonesia, will keep doing the same tradition that made by their ancestors thousands of years ago.

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